The Barbary macaque is covered in thick fur
that ranges in color from yellowish-gray to
darker grayish-brown. The chest and stomach are
lighter than the rest of the body, and the face
is usually dark pink. The most noticeable feature
of this macaque is its very short tail. Males
reach a length of about 24 inches and weight of
35 pounds, while females have a maximum length of
about 18 inches and weight of 24 pounds.
The Barbary is the only macaque outside of
Asia, and the only non-human primate in Europe.
The largest population is found in the Middle and
High Atlas mountains and in the Rif mountain
regions of Morocco. Another population lives in
the Tellian Atlas mountains of Algeria, and a
population of about 200 Barbary macaques lives on
Although they prefer high altitude habitats,
up to 8,530 feet, Barbary macaques can also be
found at sea level. Their primary habitat is
cedar forests, but they are also found in mixed
forests of cedar and oak, pure oak forests,
shrubby rock outcrops along coasts, and
occasionally in grasslands at low elevations. The
Barbary macaques on Gibraltar occasionally invade
populated areas, where they have been known to
make nuisances of themselves by stealing food and
The diet of Barbary macaques changes
seasonally. During spring, they eat various
vegetation and feast on caterpillars that live in
oak tress. By summer, fruits are plentiful, along
with other small seeds, roots, and fungi. Barbary
macaques on Gibraltar have also learned how to
take advantage of food left behind by humans,
although they tend to only go after human foods
that sre similar to what they eat in the wild.
Both males and females are promiscuous.
Females initiate and terminate matings and
compete with each other for mates. By the time
the breeding season (November and December) ends,
each female will have likely mated with all or
nearly all males in her troop. Although male
Barbary macaques have little influence over who
they mate with, dominant individuals tend to mate
more often than subordinates and tend to mate
more with dominant females.
Gestation lasts for about 164 days, and a
single offspring is usually born between April
and June. The young are weaned after 12 months,
and reach sexual maturity at 2.5 to 4 years old
in females and 4.5 to 7 years old in males.
Females stay with their natal groups, while males
almost always move to other troops.
The entire troop, males and females alike,
takes part in caring for infants. In general,
males appear to show preference to male infants.
Young-adult males tend to develop strong bonds
with male infants, and older adult males prefer
to take care of any infants from high-ranking
females. Females appear to show mating preference
to males that provide the most paternal care to
Barbary macaques typically live about 22 years
in the wild.
An average troop has 24 individuals, but can
contain up to 60, and consist of a 1:1
Males and females form their own hierarchies.
Female hierarchies are strictly matrilinear, and
each female holds a specific rank with the troop.
Newborn daughters inherit the next highest
position under her mother, above their older
sisters and others in the troop. Females protect
social status via aggression, and rank is
relatively stable and rarely changes. Male have
looser dominance hierarchies and show less
aggression towards one another. Compared to most
primates, Barbary macaques are relatively
peaceful. Most aggressive interactions are
restricted to chases and retreats, and 20% of
aggressive acts are followed by mutual "acts
genus & species Macaca sylvanus
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Macaca_sylvanus/
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