The Snow Monkeys of Japan

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Image: Marc Veerart

Winter has come and gone and the warm breeze of summer is scenting the atmosphere; the animal kingdom buzzes with new life, recovering from the struggles of a bitter season. But in the mountain chains of Japan, high in the deciduous forests, lives a tribe who never forgets the biting chill of the days gone by: the snow monkeys.


Image: Alexandra Boldereva

You might be wondering why a clan of monkeys is frolicking in the snow, and you’d be perfectly right to wonder. There are over 180 primate species in the world but only the Japanese macaque can survive the polar temperatures and steep altitudes of the island of Honshū, and he alone partakes in the annual snowball competition.

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Image: Duchamp

Bath time

Despite their primate features, these woolly, crimson-faced Ewoks resemble their human cousins in both habit and custom; Japanese macaques have developed truly astounding capabilities that stretch far beyond our understanding of all things monkey.

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