Hanuman Langur

Also known as the gray or common langur, this species is named after the Hindu monkey-god Hanuman, and is regarded as sacred in India.

These monkeys live in a wide variety of habitats, from hot tropical forests to cold mountain habitats, up to 4,000 m (13,000 ft) above sea level. Although they are principally tree-living animals, hanuman langurs are happy to live on the ground in habitats with few trees. Very rarely it will eat insects.

In areas with lots of food, hanuman langurs live in groups that may include a number of adult males as well as females and young, but in areas with less food, such as certain mountain habitats, there is only one adult male per group.

Hanuman langurs have dark faces and prominent brow ridges. They usually have grey, brown or buff-coloured upper-parts, and orange-white or yellow-white heads and chests.

Like the crab-eating macaque, both sexes show a dominance hierarchy, though it is less pronounced in female hanuman langurs than in female macaques. Males sometimes form groups of up to 40 persons. Life for the young in a troop is hazardous. Occasionally all-male groups attack male-female groups, and if they succeed in overthrowing the alpha male or males, the newcomers kill all the infants in the group. This makes the females come into oestrus quicker, so the new leaders can start to father their own offspring. Hanuman langurs spend most of their time walking on all fours, and they can be quite common in urban areas.

Distribution: Occurs in southern Asia, extending across India and Pakistan to Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma). Also present on the island of Sri Lanka, off India’s southeastern coast.

Habitat: Tropical and temperate forests, savannah, farmland, alpine scrub and desert edges.

Weight: 11.2 - 18.3 kg (25 - 40 lb); males are heavier.

Length: 109 - 178 cm (43 - 70 in) overall; tail is longer than the body.

Maturity: Females around 4.3 years; males 4.8 - 7 years.

Gestation Period: 170 - 200 days.

Breeding: 1; weaning occurs at 13 - 20 months.

Diet: Vegetarian, eating a range of fruit, leaves and flowers.

Lifespan: Up to 20 years.

Status: Near threatened.

Habitat

They favour open woodland rather than dense forest, where they can climb and walk along the branches.

Colouration

Hanuman langurs are mainly grey, with a black face, feet and hands.

Size

The largest of these langurs occur in northern parts of the species’ range.

Hind feet

These monkeys often support their bodies by sitting up on their hindquarters.

PAUSING TO DRINK

Splaying their front feet out in this fashion enables these langur monkeys to lap up water easily.

Gallery of Hanuman Langur