Stump-Tailed Macaque: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Stump-tailed macaque facts listed in this article are sure to amaze you.

Macaques are some of the most fascinating species of primates out there. Each individual has a distinct personality, likes and dislikes, places it likes to hang out, close friends, and partners. The stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides), also commonly known as the bear macaque, is found in India's northeastern state, and in China, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, and in the evergreen forests of several other countries in the region. It is, however, thought to have gone extinct in Bangladesh. It is only found in dry forests in the Himalayan region of India. The stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) is not doing much better in other parts of its habitat, with its dwindling population leading to it being listed as a Vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The stump-tailed macaque common name arose due to the short length of its hairless tail, growing to only around 1.3–2.7 in (32-69 mm). Its other common name, the bear macaque, finds its origin in the thick dark brown, almost black fur coat of the species, reminiscent of a bear's.

Male stump-tailed macaques are a lot larger at 21-22.5 lb (9.5–10.2 kg) than female stump-tailed macaques which only weigh around 16.5-20 lb (7.5–9.1 kg). This phenomenon of males and females having physical differences apart from reproductive organs is called sexual dimorphism. Apart from the larger size, males and females also show other differences as males have particularly long canine teeth. These are very important for establishing dominance within social male hierarchies that dictate access to food and water sources. Males with the longest canine teeth become the alpha males of a group. These males also enjoy the best access to mates during the two mating seasons in the year. All stump-tailed macaques (Macaca arctoides) have cheek pouches on their bright pink or red faces that they use as short-term food storage.

If you go on to enjoy this article on the stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides), make sure to check out our facts pages on the macaque monkey and the southern pig-tailed macaque.

Stump-Tailed Macaque

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Bird eggs, crabs, frogs, and insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

16.5-22.5 lb (7.5-10.2 kg)

How long are they?

19-25.6 in (48.5–65 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Thick brown fur and hairless pink or red faces

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them

Tropical and subtropical moist forests


India, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam





Scientific Name

Macaca arctoides





Stump-Tailed Macaque Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a stump-tailed macaque?

The stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) is a type of Old World monkey or macaque.

What class of animal does a stump-tailed macaque belong to?

The bear macaque is classified as a mammal which means they are viviparous. They give birth to live infant stump-tailed macaques and nurture their young ones with breastmilk produced by the mammary glands present in the female.

How many stump-tailed macaques are there in the world?

While the exact number of stump-tailed macaques in the world is not known, their population is steadily declining due to hunting and other human threats to their habitat.

Where does a stump-tailed macaque live?

Stump-tailed macaques live in evergreen forests with high degrees of humidity across northeastern India, Nepal, China, Vietnam, and Laos.

What is a stump-tailed macaque's habitat?

Macaca arctoides (stump-tailed macaque) live in evergreen tropical and subtropical moist forests and can usually be found on the ground, not up on trees. They cannot be seen in dry forests outside of the forests of the Himalayan foothills in India.

Who do stump-tailed macaques live with?

The stump-tailed macaque lives in packs consisting of both a few males and females up to 60 and are quite territorial. Stump-tailed macaques, along with many other species of macaques, are known for getting into fights with rival gangs of the same species over food and water sources.

How long does a stump-tailed macaque live?

While the stump-tailed macaque is known to be able to live up to 30 years, the actual number is often lower due to stress-related factors and recent increases in hunting.

How do they reproduce?

Stump-tailed macaques reproduce sexually and alpha males have better access to female mates. After copulation, stump-tailed macaques display a unique tradition where the male pulls the female onto his lap. After a gestation period that lasts nearly half a year, she gives birth to just one stump-tailed macaque baby. Infants are born white and darken to eventually reach dark brown fur in adulthood. They are nursed for the first nine months of their life. Towards the end of this period, mothers have been observed using their specialized cheek pouches to store small snacks like bird eggs, insects, and invertebrates for their young ones.

What is their conservation status?

Stump-tailed macaques are listed as a Vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Stump-Tailed Macaque Fun Facts

What do stump-tailed macaques look like?

Stump-tailed macaques have a lush dark brown coat of fur, but their faces and short tails are hairless. Infants are born white and darken to the same color as an adult in around two to three years. The Macaca arctoides (stump-tailed macaque) uses its large cheek sacs to store food for later. The face and bottom of this macaque species are red or pink. Its tail only grows to around 1.3–2.7 in (32-69 mm), making it seem as though it has no tail whatsoever. Their slightly chubby and short stature makes them prefer to stay on the ground more often than on trees, unlike other species of monkey such as the woolly monkey and the capuchin monkey. However, it will show no hesitation to climb one when frightened. Stump-tailed macaque behavior has been studied closely by the Thai due to the large number of these macaques invading urban areas for food.

Stump-tailed macaques have thick brown fur with a bright pink or red face.

How cute are they?

This species of macaque can be quite cute, prompting them to be kept in zoos for the pleasure of visitors.

How do they communicate?

They can use a variety of facial and physical cues to convey information about their mood. Additionally, they can make extremely loud and high-pitched screeches and grunts when agitated by other individuals or by humans. They can also express love and affection for another by grooming.

How big is a stump-tailed macaque?

The largest males of this species grow to around 25.6 in (65 cm), meaning they are nearly one and a half times smaller than the howler monkey and almost the same size as a probosci's monkey.

How fast can a stump-tailed macaque move?

While the exact speed of a stump-tailed macaque in the wild is not known, they are not the most versatile of tree-swingers and move slowly on the ground due to their short legs and hands.

How much does a stump-tailed macaque weigh?

While an adult female weighs around 16.5-20 lb (7.5–9.1 kg), an adult male weighs in at around 16.5-20 lb (7.5–9.1 kg). This departure between the two sexes is a trait called sexual dimorphism and is seen in several other species of macaque and monkey.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both male and female macaques can be referred to by the same name. A group of monkeys is often called a troop or a barrel.

What would you call a baby stump-tailed macaque?

The simple term infant is used to refer to baby stump-tailed macaques. The term is also applicable for the young of any other species of monkey.

What do they eat?

Stump-tailed macaques are largely frugivorous, meaning they eat a variety of fruits like apples, pears, guavas, bananas, mangoes, and melons. Due to this trait, they are often seen as pests by farmers. Apart from fruits, they are also known to hunt and eat freshwater crabs, small rodents, insects, frogs, and toads.

Are they active?

It is often said that the stump-tailed macaque physiology does not allow them to be extremely mobile and active creatures. They often laze around in the sun on the ground and look for food early in the day, so they can just hang out with their friends for the rest of the day.

Would they make a good pet?

There are no know records of a stump-tailed macaque pet. Though they are known to be able to form meaningful relationships and recognize humans, they require plenty of open space to move around in. As a result, they are most often kept in zoos if they are in captivity. Keeping one at home would be absolute chaos. There is no doubt that the macaque, intimidated by the new environment, would cause a massive chaos every single day.

Did you know...

Macaques are a type of Old World monkey. The term old-world is used to describe any species of animal that is endemic to Africa, Europe, and Asia. These continents are considered 'old' since it was only a few hundred years ago that the people of these continents realized there were two other habitable continents across the ocean. This is not to say that the Americas are somehow younger than the new continents. It is just the delayed discovery of the landmasses that are being referenced by this term.

Are stump-tailed macaques considered dangerous?

Stump-tailed macaques are not inherently aggressive by nature. However, they have the ability to cause some serious damage using their sharp nails and teeth. Though instances of them attacking humans are not common, you need to be careful when a stump-tailed macaque is nearby. They can be extremely unpredictable and have unique demeanors that are hard to understand at the first meeting.

Why are they called stump-tailed macaques?

The common term used to refer to the Macaca arctoides is the stump-tailed macaque due to its extremely short tail. It only grows to around 1.3–2.7 in (32-69 mm). It is genuinely difficult to spot the tail of this species unless you really look closely. This unusually short tail is the reason behind the common name of this species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our colobus monkey facts and Japanese macaque facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable monkey coloring pages.



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