I took these amusing photos of monkeys along old Upper Thomson Road several weeks back. Upper Thomson Road and the peripheral areas, particularly the lower and upper pierce reservoirs are home to many troupes of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) which are native to Singapore. They are commonly found in the forested central catchment areas, Rifle-Range Road, Bukit Timah and Bukit Batok nature reserves and also around some of our islands. The species ranges from Indochina, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Philippines. It is the most common primate in Singapore and also the largest range of any primate species, behind only humans and Rhesus macaque.
Macaques are easily identified by their long tails, shape of their muzzels and its colour which is generally greyish brown. They are highly sociable and noisy, often found in troupes of between 5 to 60. They live in a wide variety of habitats, including primary lowland rainforests, coastal forests of nipa palm and mangrove. They easily adjust to human settlements (i.e. Thomson, Hindhede road) and are even considered sacred at some Hindu temples especially so in Bali. In the past, Malay kampong villagers would keep Macaques as working pets for the purpose of plucking coconuts.
Although they are called "crab-eating Macaques", they don't only consume crabs but are considered opportunistic omnivores. Give them a hamburger and chances are, they'll take it. This is why Macaques at Lower Pierce and Bukit Timah Nature reserve get very excited when they see people because this usually translates into 'meal-time'. Hence, we have sign-boards and still penalties put up asa means of discouraging people from feeding the Macaques. But based on what I have seen so far, I think this has had had very little effect.
Studies have shown that Macaques will groom females in order to get sex. It is found that a femalte has a greater likelihood to engage in sexual activity with a male if he had recently groomed her, compared to males who had not. I should probably go warn my friend who allowed 3 young juveniles who appeared at his gate at Hindhede Road, to give him a 'manicure' when he offered them his hand.