Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina)


Family:                    Cercopithecidae.

Status:                     Endangered.

Size:                        Height 1.5 to 2 ft., weight 10 to 30 lbs.

Diet:                        Omnivore.

Characteristics:        Social, active, intelligent.

Area:                       Asia.

Offspring:                One every other year.



·       Macaques are often used in laboratory experiments—currently, they’re used in HIV experiments.

·       The Lion-tailed macaque is the most endangered macaque, and one of the most critically endangered mammals in the world.

·       The only macaque living naturally outside Asia is the Barbary ape of northern Africa.

·       Researchers have found that pig-tailed macaques are highly intelligent and mischievous.  

·       They can carry food in their cheek pouches.



The pig-tailed macaque is named for the short tail that curls over its back. These monkeys can walk upright, but usually use all four feet. They fur is a soft brown, with white on their bellies and hairless toes, fingers, ears and face. Pig-tailed macaques live in troops of 3 to 45 individuals of both males and females. They spend their days on the forest floor, but climb trees to obtain fruit, which makes up as much as 90% of their diet. Leaves, sprouts, mushrooms, roots and insects make up the other 10%. Macaques also scurry up trees rapidly to escape predators and they also sleep in trees at night. Within the troops, there is a social structure and the highest ranked members eat first. Pig-tailed macaques tend to be quieter than other species of macaques—it’s believed that this is a technique they’ve developed to avoid predators while on the ground. In Thailand, pig-tailed macaques are captured and trained for three to six months at a special school to work on coconut plantations, retrieving the coconuts from the trees. At the school, they’re trained to recognize ripe coconuts from unripe ones. They’re kept on a long leash and are able to pick 800 to 1,000 coconuts per day.



The pigtailed macaque is found in southeastern Asia, in forested areas of countries such as Burma, Borneo, Sumatra, Indonesia, Laos, Malay Peninsula, Thailand, and Vietnam. There are approximately 900,000 pig-tailed macaques left in the wild. Their decline is due to several reasons including heavy logging of the forests in which they live; they’re hunted for meat; they’re captured for use in the pet trade as well as for use in medical and cosmetic laboratory experiments.



A female becomes sexually mature at age four, and is then approached by males in the troop, but the choice of a mate is hers. Pregnancy lasts six months and mothers are very protective of their babies, carrying them everywhere and not allowing anyone else to touch them. The baby macaque nurses for up to one year. Pig-tailed macaques have a lifespan of over 26 years.