Animals & Attractions

There is a large group of Japanese macaques here at Highland Wildlife Park.


  • The Japanese macaque or snow monkey is the most northerly living non-human primate
  • They are the subject of many Buddhist stories and are represented in the Three Wise Monkeys maxim "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"
  • They are well known for bathing in natural hot springs to escape the cold, but this behaviour is unique to macaques in the Nagano mountains
  • They live in large social groups known as troops, which have a strict dominance hierarchy. A young female macaque will inherit her mother’s rank
  • Japanese macaques are omnivores. Their diet includes smaller animals and plants, mainly fruits, berries, seeds, flowers, and young leaves. They also eat insects, crabs, and bird eggs during the winter months
  • Japanese macaques consume a variety of insects and plants and act as seed dispersers
  • While their numbers are stable Japanese macaques still face a number of threats. Around 10,000 macaques are killed by farmers every year, protecting their crops and livestock
  • They are excellent swimmers and have been reported to swim a distance of more than half a kilometeres
  • In snowy areas, Japanese macaques sleep up in deciduous trees to avoid snow falling on them
  • Young macaques play with stones, fight and swing in trees. When there is snow around, they will make snowballs, rolling them about until they become too large or break up


Here at RZSS, our Japanese macaques are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) which ensures a healthy and genetically diverse population.

Like all the animals in our care, our Japanese macaques are amazing ambassadors for their relatives in the wild and help hundreds of thousands of people connect with nature every year. They encourage visitors to learn about the threats facing wildlife and the action they can take to help create a world where nature is protected, valued, and loved.

As a wildlife conservation charity, we care for the animals here at the park and work to protect species at risk around the world. From providing expertise in genetics and veterinary health to protecting wild places with local conservation partners, and even restoring threatened species to the wild, we are active where we are needed most.

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