Lion Tailed Macaque

Macaca Silenus

As you wander through the dense forests in the Western Ghats, you may be taken aback by a leaping primate that bounds through the tree-tops at alarming speed.

It’s shaggy, silvery mane, enormous tail, and sharp teeth. Lion Tailed Macaques are Old World monkeys. They’re picky creatures and only live in pockets of the forest, in which they feel a sense of familiarity with the environment and the food.

You’ll usually find these macaques in troops numbering around 15-25 animals, and males usually have a large harem of females in their wake.

The young are nurtured throughout their childhood by their mothers, until they become sub-adults.

One usually spots them in the dense jungles of south India, in the Annamalai hills in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Nilgiri Biosphere.

Annamalai Tiger Sanctuary, Periyar, and Silent Valley are some of our favourite places to see these creatures in action. Chances are that you’ll find them feasting on jackfruit or wild durian, or foraging leaves and berries. To catch a Lion-Tailed Macaque in mid-leap is a beautiful sight and the photo-op of a lifetime. As they fly across the tree-tops, their silver manes and tails flaring out, they seem almost magical.