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Macaca radiata

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The monkeys are perhaps the most visible of all the animals in the campus due to their pranks. The 'bandar' or the Bonnet Macaque (Macaca radiata) as it is scientifically known is a little pale faced monkey with a long tail. They eat mostly leaves, flowers and fruits. As vegetarians most of them have teeth suited to eat vegetarian diet. But they eat insects, spiders etc. at times. Like other wild animals that are constantly under threat, they also have special means to gather large quantities of food in a short time. This is achieved by storing the food in a pouch in the mouth and chewing it later when they are safe.

Troops of 20-30 are found eating on the ground or in the trees. When the banyan trees are full of fruits in the summer months, the monkeys have a great time feeding on them. They usually live on good terms with other wild animals. Deer and blackbuck gather under trees where these monkeys are feeding to eat the fruits and leaves, which they drop. They are more active during early morning hours and just before retiring to their usual abodes on big trees like banyan. Its quite common to see them relaxing on broad tree branches in the hot afternoons.

When monkeys are in close vicinity, some people have a fear that they may attack. Many of us in the campus know that if we do not stare at them, they go on with their business. Sometimes they raid houses and hostels for food. In IIT campus, this problem is solved by fixing meshes on windows. Chennai has severe water shortage in summer months. Like us, most wild animals and birds are also on the look out for water sources. Bonnet monkeys in the campus have 'IITian' ways to tackle this problem. They turn on taps to drink water and forget to close them! Keeping water pots in different places in the campus as well as fixing 'lift and drop' taps have reduced these instances. Similarly, the fruit bearing trees in the yard may attract them. The following remark heard in the campus, pretty much sums up their predicament.'Remember, we can go to the market and buy fruits, but these wild animals cannot'.

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