Snow Monkeys: Physical Characteristics
With an estimated 150 to 160 monkeys in the troop, there is a dominant alpha at the top and descending hierarchy monkeys below him. Younger monkeys inherent the status of their parents and from the day they are born, monkeys enter into world in which they must assert themselves to gain and maintain status.
While an alpha male rules the troop, the troop itself is 60 to 70% female. It is hard to distinguish between males and females physically while they are young. Behaviour is the best indication of gender with male monkeys seen to love play-fighting, wrestling, climbing and chasing each other from the relatively young age of 3 to 4 months. Young females are typically calmer and often play by themselves or get another female to play with them.
As the monkeys mature, it is easier to see the physical difference between the sexes. Males are somewhat bigger than females and enjoy a muscular build while females are rounder in shape. Both have two buttock pads but the ones on the female are further apart. As the monkeys mature sexually and start breeding, gender becomes even more apparent. The boys sport all the usual equipment and are therefore easy to identify from behind while the girls nipples become elongated from feeding their babies.
Females will spend most of their lives with their mother, sisters, aunties and cousins while males, once sexually mature, typically need to leave their troop of birth. They will spend much of their lives by themselves moving between troops and trying to assert themselves.
Japanese macaques have opposable thumbs so they can grasp things between their fingers and thumb, much like humans. But unlike humans, they can also grasp things like this with their feet, which are long in comparison with their hands. When it gets colder the monkeys curl their feet up and try to not let their feet touch the cold snow as the palm of their feet, and hands, are very sensitive to temperature.
We think the monkeys are endlessly interesting! From their unique behaviour, to their babies and childcare or the complexities of their social bonds, the monkeys of Jigokudani are truly curious creatures. Needless to say, we are very fond of them.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MONKEYS?
Based in Nagano and operating all-year-round, we offer a number of group tours that include a visit to the monkey park. All tours are led by locally-based guides and combine a visit to the park with another great destination, activity or event including lunch or dinner. Our tours are fun, interactive and family-friendly. For a more information and a listing of all tours on offer, click on the banner above or the button below.
1 Day Tour
|1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake in Nagano|
|Period||All Year Round|
|Time||09:35 – 17:35|
|Meeting Place||Nagano Station |
Hakuba (winter only)
Of course, we also offer private tours and transport to the monkeys and any regional destination. Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your schedule. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of your adventure in Central Japan and help you discover even more!
Got a question about visiting the monkeys? Click the ‘INQUIRY’ button below or contact us and let’s get planning together!
NEED ASSISTANCE WHILE AT THE PARK?
Need assistance while at the park? The Snow Monkey Resorts Info & Gift Shop is located at the entrance of the trail leading to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Offering a range of services including winter rentals and English language information, luggage storage, along with monkey merchandise and souvenirs including official Snow Monkey Resorts products, the SMR Info & Gift Shop has you covered when visiting the park. Open from early October until late May, 9AM to 5PM, English-speaking staff can answer your questions on your way to and from the park including bus timetables and information about nearby attractions.
SNOW MONKEY RESORTS ONLINE SHOP
Can’t make it to us? Let us come to you! Our Snow Monkey Resorts Online Shop has you covered for all your monkey needs including official merchandise and travel products. We ship both inside Japan and internationally. All your monkey needs are now just one click away!