Japanese snow monkeys swim in hot springs

The thick fur of the Japanese snow monkey helps it through the winter as it doesn’t hibernate. Even this monkey’s body size depends on the local temperature with populations in colder areas being larger and heavier than those living further south. Snow monkey groups travel distances of over three kilometres (two miles) in a single day and are extremely intelligent and social, making soothing sounds to one another throughout the day.

30 per-cent of their time is spent grooming one another, occupying more of their time than feeding. Their biggest predators include snakes, and they can communicate silently about the level of threat by adjusting their posture. When it’s time to mate, pairs go out on a day-long date where they travel, feed and sleep in close proximity. Young monkeys stay with their mother for the first 18 months of life, weaning at the age of only six months.

These monkeys have developed an incredible habit to combat the bitter winter cold – they bathe in the natural hot springs of Japan’s mountains. This behaviour has been witnessed for the last 50 years, and scientists suggest that this idea is passed down through generations between closely bonded parents and offspring.


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Image from www.flickr.com/photos/sitsgirls