Barbary Macaque (Barbary Ape)

Genus: Macaca

The Barbary macaque, is also known as Barbary ape or magot. They are the only macaques living on the African continent in the wild. There are 23 species of macaques, with barbary macaques also prevalent in one country in Europe: Gibraltar.

Middle Atlas Mountains, surrounding the town of Azrou, the lakes of Igoulmamneau in the Middle Eastern Atlas Mountains (Djabal Tazaga). The town of Azrou is at an altitude of 1250 m and surrounded by mountains thick with evergreen Holm oak and cedar which is suitable habitat for the Barbary apes.

Barbary Macaque (Barbary Ape)
Barbary Macaque (Barbary Ape) is Threatened in The Wild

Appearance of the Barbary Macaque

Barbary Macaques, have thick tawny fur and pinkinsh, brown hairless, faces. They are on average length (from head to rump) of 556.8 mm (21.9 in) in females and 634.3 mm (25.0 in) in males. Males are larger than females with typically longer from 4 to 22 mm (0.16 to 0.87 in).

Like many monkey species, their front legs are longer than their hind legs. DNA studies links most macaques to
Morocco in Northern Africa. Males have flat behinds while females have swellings.

Barbary Macaque (Barbary Ape) Social Bonding is Important

Diet of Macaques

Macaques are mainly frugivorous (fruit eaters) but will occasionally eat insects. Most of their diet in the wild consists of foraging food like plants, stems, leaves, berries. They lean also toward being omnivorous so it is not uncommon to see them eat rodents and birds.

Offspring and Habits of the Barbary Macaque

interestingly, barbary macaques, help to bring up non descendent infants with males playing a large
part in cooperative ‘brood’ care (alloparental care). Especially males will help rear young even if they are not
directly related.

Females prefer males with good parenting skills; this may contribute to why males are often seen spending long periods grooming infants. Barbary macaques mature at 3-4 years of age and live up to 20 years or more in the wild and can live beyond 30 years as pets.

Breeding Facts of Barbary Macaques

  • Mating season: November to March
  • Gestation period: 147 to 192 days
  • Numbers born: 1-2 in one pregnancy

Troops of macaques can differ in size from 15 to 100 and larger adult males often hold sway over the troop. Males will often avoid conflict by offering an infant to a lone male for him to look after. Males more likely to bond with related males. in coalitions of Barbary macaques.

Grooming is seen as a way of forging bonds and reducing stress between the troop. Daily grooming also aids in the ridding of fleas and other insects. Despite being mute when socializing, facial lip movements are a very important means of communication for barbary macaques, sometimes meaning defense, friendliness or reassurances.

Barbary apes use shrill calls mainly for alerting the troop or shrill warnings to other macaques, when in conflicts. They are able to identify individuals in their troop by their pitch and mothers can importantly identify their young.

Babies hold a lot of currency among barbary macaques with youths, adults females and males often vying to hold the precious cargo.

Predation of Barbary Macaques

Large eagles that swoop over the mountains are Barbary macaques principal predator. They will often try to swiftly snatch babies. Leopards are also known to hunt the Barbary ape.

Fantastic Facts about Barbary Macaques

  • Barbary macaques, despite their name, are monkeys (Macaca sylvanus).
  • In captivity the troop is typically very protective toward babies not allowing vets near.
  • Babies are very strong within days of being born, being able to cling on to fur and dangle.
  • The unique crab eating macaque of South East Asia eats seafood.

Barbary Macaques As Pets

Please note Barbary monkeys should never be taken from the wild as their numbers are severely declining. Despite their diminutive size barbary macaques need large enclosures of at least 30 square feet. They should be very secure so the macaques don’t run amok inside your house, in the danger of hurting themselves. Macaques thrive better in pairs or more and their should be room for them to partake in social behaviour with a selection of branches made available.

Barbary Macaque (Barbary Ape). Grooming Builds Bonds and Relaxes the Apes
Barbary Macaque (Barbary Ape). Grooming Builds Bonds and Relaxes the Apes

Old world monkey biscuits containing high-quality protein (18%–22.5% crude protein) should be fed to New World primates like Barbary apes to ensure that their higher protein requirements are met.

The recommended diet for this type of pet macaque consists of:

  • 2-5% Hi Protein Treats
  • 15-20% Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (oranges are popular among monkeys)
  • 5-10% Leaves, plants, stems, roots (foraging foods)
  • 75-80% Commercial Old World Primate Diet

Barbary Macaques Endangered Status

According to the IUCN Barbary macaques are ‘threatened’ in the wild. Conservationists in Morocco blame the decline in numbers on loss of habitat, poaching and tourists feeding the apes.

Q & A about Barbary Macaques

Which order are Barbary macaques in?

Barbary macaques are in the order of ‘primates’

Are Barbary macaques dangerous?

With powerful limbs, sharp teeth and bad tempers they can be dangerous.

How did barbary macaques get to Gibraltar?

Scientists believe the Moors brought the macaque to Gibraltar in between 700 and 1492

Are barbary macaques nocturnal?

Like humans Barbary macaques are diurnal, awake in the day and asleep at night.

Do Barbary macaques in tourist destinations bite?

Barbary macaques in tourist destinations like Gibraltar usually only bite if they are feeling threatened.

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