One year of Japanese macaques that try through the four seasons
Only in the world, it is famous Jigokudani Monkey Park that there are monkeys to enter the hot springs, in the season of spring, summer, fall and winter one year, it will be able to observe the appearance of various Japanese monkey.
In spring season
In April, spring has come to Jigokudani, it is the season of melting snow and monkeys’ eagerly-awaited season after the extreme cold winter. Many plants sprout out so that monkeys can get abundant food such as buds, young leaves of beech trees and flowers. It should be taste sweet for them.
They have a peak birth period from late April through June. You can see many newborn babies during this period.
In summer season
Short spring in Kita-Shinano area has gone quickly and summer season has come. Mountains are covered with deep green forest and several kinds of flowers bloom. It starts with flower bloom of early summer and we have rainy season followed by midsummer. At this time monkeys’ winter pelage starts changing to summer pelage.
Basically monkeys are not good with hot season, adult monkeys rest in the shade for long time of a day. But young monkeys are still active. Their staple food is plants, also eat insects, but do not eat meat and fish. There are some differences of diet by habitats.
In summer season, baby monkeys born in the spring start playing with other babies in a short distance away from their mothers. They have baby teeth and start eating food other than breast milk.
In autumn season
In September, late summer, fruitful season has come to the forest. This is the busiest season for monkeys. They rush through the forest seeking nourishing nuts and fruits for preparation of winter. For getting enough energy to endure winter season they need to eat much food.
Then the season moves to autumn, it is the season of copulation. Their faces and posterior turn red and males start appealing to females. The atmosphere in the troop is tense and all monkeys are nervous during this period.
At the beginning of snowing, the copulation period comes to the end and everything returns normal. And there are no more tasty nuts in the mountains.
In winter season
Blowing north wind with snow, this is the start of winter season here. Monkeys have to endure this long and sever season. Young monkeys born in the last spring have grown enough to find food by themselves, still feed at the breast though.
During winter seasons they can get only buds and barks. It is scant nourishing, but they really need it to survive the cold weather.
We sometimes see monkeys eating clod through the year, this behavior is considered as consumption of mineral, which cannot get from plants. They huddle together and endure extreme cold days. To get through the severe season they use the energy stored during autumn season.