Rhesus Macaque

India boasts a magnificent variety of primate species, with a total of 18 unique types scattered throughout the country. While the rhesus macaque, bonnet macaque, and gray langur are commonly seen in urban areas, India also harbours several rare and endangered primate species that face threats from habitat loss and human encroachment. These include the lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, and Hoolock gibbon, which are exclusive to certain regions and are vital to maintaining ecosystem balance. India’s primates are a vital component of its rich biological heritage, and the government and various conservation organisations are taking steps to protect these captivating creatures and their habitats through education initiatives and conservation programs.

The macaque is a type of monkey that is native to Asia and Africa. In India, the rhesus macaque and the bonnet macaque are two of the most commonly seen primate species. These intelligent and adaptable animals have become well adapted to human settlements and can be found in many urban areas, scavenging for food and interacting with people. While their behaviour can sometimes be entertaining, it is important to remember that macaques are wild animals and can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Moreover, overpopulation of macaques can lead to conflict with humans and pose public health risks, as they are known carriers of diseases such as rabies and herpes B virus. Various efforts have been made to manage macaque populations in India, including sterilisation programs and relocation initiatives.

Rhesus macaque

SL NOCharacteristicsInformation
1Common NameRhesus macaque
2Scientific NameMacaca mulatta
3Length40 – 70 cm (16 – 28 in)
4ColourBrown or gray fur with pink face
5Height / girthAround 50 cm (20 in) at the shoulder
6Tail length20 – 25 cm (8 – 10 in)
7Height till shoulder (If its mammal)Around 50 cm (20 in) at the shoulder
8Average weightMales: 7 – 14 kg (15 – 31 lb), Females: 4 – 9 kg (9 – 20 lb)
9Food habitsOmnivorous, eats fruits, seeds, insects, small animals and carrion
10HabitatForests, grasslands, and urban areas in South, Central, and Southeast Asia
11Any interesting facts about themRhesus macaques are highly intelligent and social animals


Rhesus macaque, also known as the Macaca mulatta, is a species of Old World monkey that is native to South and Southeast Asia. Both males and females have a short, brownish-grey fur that covers their bodies. They have a pale pink or red face and a tail that is shorter than their body length.

Males are typically larger than females, weighing between 5 and 10 kg (11-22 lbs) while females weigh between 3 and 6 kg (6.6-13.2 lbs). One of the most distinctive features of rhesus macaques is their cheek pouches, which they use to store food for later consumption. They also have a unique, sharp call that is used to communicate with other members of their troop.

Rhesus macaques are highly intelligent and social animals that live in large groups called troops. They display a wide range of interesting behaviours, such as using tools, playing, grooming each other, and even engaging in complex social hierarchies. Additionally, they are one of the few animals besides humans that have been observed using deception to achieve their goals.

Food Habits

Rhesus macaques are known to be opportunistic feeders and have a varied diet that includes fruits, seeds, leaves, insects, and even small animals.


Rhesus macaques are native to South and Southeast Asia, and can be found in a variety of habitats including forests, grasslands, and urban areas. Rhesus monkeys are found in a diverse range of habitats, including the desert regions of Rajasthan, the fertile plains of the Gangetic Basin, the tropical forests of southeastern Asia, the temperate pine covers of the Himalayas mountains, and the rough mountains of north-central China.

They are adaptable to a range of environments and are known for their ability to thrive in areas that have been disturbed by human activity, such as agricultural fields and urban areas.

Vulnerable Species

Rhesus macaques are not currently considered a vulnerable species, and their populations are believed to be stable or increasing in many areas. According to estimates from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global population of rhesus macaques is around 200,000 individuals.

In India, rhesus macaques are classified as a “least concern” species by the IUCN, and are not considered to be at significant risk of extinction. However, in some areas, their populations have become so large that they can cause significant damage to crops and can become a nuisance in urban areas.

One of the primary threats to rhesus macaques in India is habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities such as agriculture, logging, and urbanisation. Additionally, they are sometimes hunted for their meat or captured for the pet trade.

Protected Areas

Rhesus monkeys are a common sight in many national parks in India due to their adaptable nature and ability to live in a variety of environments. Some of the most popular national parks where these monkeys can be found are located in the northern and central regions of the country.

Ranthambore National Park and Sariska National Park, both located in the state of Rajasthan, are known for their populations of rhesus macaques. These parks are also home to a variety of other wildlife, including tigers, leopards, and various species of deer and birds.

Bandhavgarh National Park and Kanha National Park, both located in Madhya Pradesh, are also home to rhesus monkeys. These parks are known for their tiger populations and are popular destinations for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Jim Corbett National Park, located in Uttarakhand, is another popular national park in India where rhesus macaques can be found.

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