The Toque Macaque (Macaca sinica)


This is a species of Monkey endemic to the island is the most commonly found species of monkey. The Macaques are found throughout the island from the low country dry zone to the central hills. Three subspecies of this monkey has been identified based on different climatic and geographic regions. The Dry zone Toque Macaque (Macaca sinica sinica) can be found throughout the dry zone of the country, the Wet zone Toque Macaque (Macaca sinica aurifrons), found in the wet zone and the central hills and the Highland Toque Macaque (Macaca sinica opisthomelas) which is found in the montane forests around Horton Plains.

All three species share the same physical characteristics but differentiating in colour and hair on their cap. The males are larger than the females and an adult male could be around 52cm in length with the female being about 41cm. The males can weigh between 4 - 5.5kg and the females at 2.5 – 4.5kg. They live in troops of about 20 individuals and although they are expert climbers, they tend to move about for most of the time on the ground. Their food consists of leaves, fruits, flowers, seeds, and occasionally lizards, insects and birds. They also store food in their cheek pockets to be chewed later. The Toque Macaques are known to live for 20-30 years in captivity. Their gestation period is usually 6 months and normally gives birth to one and rarely two young.

Although this species’ population is declining, it is yet to be given national protection despite it being an endemic species, mostly due to the fact that it is considered a pest attacking crops and home gardens in semi urban areas.