Whilst the people make up the soul of the country, the Monkeys of Nepal certainly do their best to leave an impression! Seeing monkeys roam the streets, temples and wilds for many of us is exciting! It can also be quite intimidating to interact with them up close. They all have their own personalities, attitudes and know if you’re hiding food! So what do you need to know about the monkeys of Nepal? Well we are going to tell you, it’s not just the classic Macaque to look out for, especially on tour with us!
Macaque’s are the man, or at least, that’s what they believe.
These cheeky chappy’s are easily spotted in Nepal. From the entrance of the airport to the magnificent temples! These monkeys live among the people and we’re pretty sure, start to believe they are! The Rhesus Macaques are brown in color, pretty large and very social so always travel in a group. This make them the masters of distraction and pick-pocketing! From water bottles to handbags these cheeky Macaque’s have been known to ‘borrow’ numerous things from locals and especially, tourists. So it’s no surprise that many of us can get a little intimidated when interacting with the monkeys of Nepal. Each Macaque has a different personality, attitude and charm to the next. They can be just as curious of you as you are of them. Rhesus Macaques have a high population in Nepal and rising! Thanks to the easily accessible food from street stalls and temple offerings these guys live a life of crime!
In Nepal most monkey interactions will happen in the temples you visit such as Swayambhunath (or Monkey Temple) which is home to many monkeys. Here the Macaque’s are used to the locals and tourists. Whilst this doesn’t mean they will let you keep your water bottle, they will be quick to give up if you resist the theft with a good tug back!
Once you get outside of the city the mafia Macaques are left behind.
The Macaques you see now are much more shy and timid. If you catch a glimpse of them swinging and playing among the branches, hold that stare because if they spot you they are likely to move on. The logging of forest and jungles are making way for farmland and Macaques are seen as pests. They come down from the trees to munch on farmers crops. The Macaques get chased away from farms and rural villages. Villagers will often come out with pots and pans, banging them together. As well as shouting, chanting and sometimes throwing stones and sticks at them to scare them off. Quickly the Macaques in the rural areas learn that humans aren’t incredibly welcoming and they are better off moving away.
Seeing these guys in their natural habitat is amazing so have your camera ready!
The majestic Himalayan Langur
The Nepal Grey Langur are majestic apes that we don’t often spot until we are on the rivers, away from highways and built up areas. These very regal looking apes have an entirely grey/silver coat and a black smokey face. Larger and heavier than their cousins in India they are often found in altitude areas above 1,500 meters. Once known as “Hanuman langurs” because of the Hindu monkey god’s devotion to lord Ram. Hindus believe the monkey’s hand and face were made black from the ash of a giant fire that was started by Hanuman when he tried to rescue princess Sita from a demon. Because of this tale the Langurs are sacred within the Hindu religion.
The Nepali Langur can live up to altitudes of 4,000 meters (13,000ft). A fun fact! Scientists believe that at these altitudes they are mistaken for the mythical Yeti that is supposed to be living among the peaks of the Himalayas! All we know is that these apes are pretty majestic looking and unlike the wild shy Macaques, they are curious to come down to have a look at us as we raft by.
Stay quiet for the Assam Macaque..
The Assam Macaque can often be mistaken for the loud Rhesus Macaque however they are very different. The Assam Macaque is sadly on the decline, a rare spot and on the near threatened list by the IUCN. Often found swinging in the trees of central and southern Nepal it is a special moment if we spot these guys on tour in Nepal. There are many monkeys in Nepal but the Assam Macaque is one of the most threatened. To get a glimpse of these amazing monkeys head to the lower sections of the Kali Gandaki, Karnali or Sun Koshi river. Away from people, built up areas and farmland. These guys prefer the quiet and solitude of jungles and forests, so if you head into some of Nepal’s national parks you may have a better chance at spotting them.
If you are lucky enough to spot these amazing monkeys, sit back and soak it in instead of wasting time reaching for the camera.
The Monkeys of Nepal are a highlight for many of us, they never fail to put a smile on your face! It is so easy to forget but they are wild animals! Even the Rhesus Macaques running around in the temples are there by choice (mainly due to the high amount of food on offer) and it is their home that you are entering. Use common sense when interacting with these animals because after all, they are wild! Spotting a monkey on tour is exciting, all animals are amazing to watch so share the sight when you spot one with others and enjoy it. The monkeys of Nepal are hilarious, beautiful and fun to watch and experience and we hope you spot all three on tour with us!
Can you spot the monkey in the above photo?