SNOW MONKEYS: FOOD
The snow monkeys love eat things such as flowers from the witch hazel, beech and black locust for the nectar. Also wild plants and insects like grasshoppers and cicadas are much beloved snacks. Grooming is another way of obtaining food. By eating the lice and nits (lice eggs) found on the one they are grooming, they get their daily dose of protein. The occasional stinkbug is also a treat.
Foraging for food such as mushrooms, chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, acorns, wild grapes and the like is the most popular activity in autumn. Autumn is also the season when fruit such as apples are ripe and the snow monkeys love apples! Autumn is for fattening up the monkeys. They will need the extra fat because there is hardly anything but tree bark and plant roots to find in winter.
Feeding at Jigokudani
The snow monkeys at Jigokudani are fed daily by the park rangers. The feeding has the purpose of prolonging observation by making the monkeys come to Jigokudani for the food. If there would be no feeding, the monkeys would just go to random places in the forest and that would make it difficult to keep track of them. It also keeps the monkeys away up to a certain extent from the farmlands, thus it also keeps the monkeys a bit safer from angry farmers. To give extra incentive to coming to Jigokudani, the food given to the monkeys is just a little bit nicer than the food they generally find in the forest, but not nice enough to pull them away from nature completely. They are fed soy beans, barley, or apples depending on the weather and season.
It is always a struggle to get the monkeys to come to the monkey park during autumn though. In combination to their mating season, there are too many tasty nuts and fruits to find in the forest so the monkeys might stay in the forest and eat their bellies full.
It is not possible for visitors to feed the monkeys. The feeding is necessary for observation of the monkeys and not for entertainment. The park rangers ensure that the monkeys do not overeat themselves and that the natural behavior is not disturbed. If visitors were allowed to feed the monkeys, the balance might get upset and the monkeys could lose their wild nature and try to start stealing from people which would eventually lead to a more chaotic than harmonious coexistence.
To learn more about their behaviors, click here!
To learn more about their physical characteristics, click here!
To learn more about the love and childcare, click here!
To learn more about their social life, click here!