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Did you know that stump-tailed macaques can go bald?

  • Every two weeks, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.

Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting an animal that gets its name from its short hairless tail: the stump-tailed macaque.

The stump-tailed macaque (Macaca Arctoides), also known as the bear macaque, is a monkey native to South and Southeast Asia. It’s found in tropical and subtropical evergreen forests preferring primary forest over secondary and disturbed ones. They are semi-terrestrial primates that due to their large and heavy build and extremely short tail, are not the best climbers. They prefer foraging, grooming and playing on the ground. Stump-tailed macaques have pink-red faces with no hair. Over time and with exposure to the sun, the red coloration darkens and may even become black. Eventually, some macaques will start to go bald. These primates are omnivores and just like other macaque species, they have cheek pouches in which they store food. They primarily eat fruit which makes them important seed dispersers within their environment.

Stump-tailed macaques live in social groups made up of several monkey families. The most dominant members are the alpha males and they have the responsibility of protecting the group. To do so, they will climb trees to keep a lookout for potential predators. If they see one, the alphas will roar to scare away the predators. In captivity, stump-tailed macaques may live up to 30 years, but in the wild it’s often shorter due to predation. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN and populations are projected to decline over the next 30 years due to threats such as hunting and habitat loss. Watch the video to learn more about this species!

Special thanks to Jonathan Moore for sharing his camera trap footage. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jonatha81270041.

Banner photo: a stump-tailed macaque by Shankar S/Wikimedia Commons.
Editor’s note: a pig-tailed instead of a stump-tailed macaque is shown at minute 1:24 and 2:17

Romi Castagnino is Mongabay’s bilingual writer. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @romi_castagnino