Fauna : Common Langur (Semnopithecus entellus)
IUCN Status : Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 Schedule II CITES:
Head & Body weight : 50 - 100 cms
Tail : 70 - 110 cms
Weight : Male: 9 - 20 Kgs Female : 7.5 - 18 Kgs


Common in the forests and also around habitation, this silver gray monkey with a tail longer than its body, a conspicuous black face, long limbs with both hands and feet black in colour, is easy to recognise. Males are larger than females and the new born are pink in colour.


The coughing alarm call of the langur is often the first indicator of the presence of a predator. Although they are preyed upon by Tigers (Panthera tigris), it is the Leopard (Panthera pardus) that is their arch enemy in the forests and langur react to its close presence with a violent, almost hysterical mobbing behaviour.

A conspicuous monkey, Common Langurs are widespread with 16 sub-species recognised throughout South Asia. Their range extends from as high as over 3500m in the Himalayas to the scrub forests of Western Rajasthan and throughout the deciduous forests of peninsular India. They do not inhabit evergreen forests. They are quite often seen in proximity to human habitation and are a prominent feature of some cities and many small towns throughout India.
A very arboreal monkey, Langurs spend most of their time feeding on leaves, flowers, fruits and berries. They are programmed to eat rapidly, often indiscriminately, depending upon bacteria in their fore-stomachs to break down any toxins they may have ingested. This is perhaps the reason for the wide success and distribution of this species. They also obtain salt, mineral and trace elements by licking rocks, termite mounds and salt licks. Being wasteful feeders, they drop large quantities of food to the forest floor, which is picked up by deer feeding below. This association is often considered to be symbiotic (mutualism) but studies in Kanha have shown that in the overwhelming majority of cases it is the deer that initiate the association and not the langur indicating that the benefits largely accrue to the deer and not significantly to the monkeys.
Most feeding activity takes place in the morning and late afternoon, with the monkeys resting during the hotter part of the day. At this time, troop members groom each other, and this activity serves the purpose of cleaning one other, reinforcing bonds and establishing social hierarchy.The morning activity normally commences with loud whooping calls which are also emitted in greeting or when they break out into a sudden display of high spirits or nervousness,chasing each other in tremendous leaps, bounding off tree
trunks, fallen branches and even rocks. The 'whoop' is audible over a long distance, often over a kilometre.
Langur live in troops that vary from 8 - 20 animals, has a mixed composition (of all ages and sexes) and is lead by a dominant male. All male or bachelor groups are also a common feature. Males from these bachelor groups are forever on the lookout for an opportunity to challenge the dominant male of a mixed troop and take over his harem. When this happens, and the dominant male is ousted, the new male indulges in infanticide, killing unweaned infants to ensure that the females come into oestrous again, so as to propagate his own genes.
Langur troops have a home range which can vary between 1.3 sq.km to 13 sq.km. They generally have a favourite roosting tree, to which the animals retire at the end of the day. The monkeys huddle together and prefer to squat on the extremities of the branches, as a precautionary measure against predators.

Females attain sexual maturity (3-4 years) earlier than males (6-7years). The breeding season varies greatly across the range and the young are born after a gestation period of 6 months. As a rule, one young is born and the arrival of the early ones in a troop causes much excitement, with females of all age groups vying with each other to touch and handle the new born. The mother readily allows this and sometimes the infant gets passed on from hand to hand. The mother keeps a careful watch and will instantly retrieve the baby specially if it starts squealing. The young are carried upside down clasped to their mother's belly.

The infants start sampling food plants by the age of 3 months and are independent enough by that age to wander a short distance from their mother and indulge in vigorous play with other young members of the troop. They are weaned between 10 and 15 months when the female stops lactating, by which time the young are also independent of their mother. Normally by the age of two and the arrival of a new baby the juveniles' ties with the mother are completely cut.

1. Newton, P. N.1984: Infanticide and Social Change in Forest Grey Langurs, Presbytis entellus, in Kanha Tiger Reserve, India - Int. J. Primatol. ; 5(4):366. Aug. 1984. Abstract only.
2. Newton, Paul 1994: Socail Stability and change among forest Hanuman Langurs (Presbytis entellus)- Primates ; 35(4):489-498.
3. Rajpurohit, Lal Singh; Volker Sommer and S. M. Mohnot 1995: Wanderers between harems and bachelor bands:male Hanuman Langurs(Presbytis entellus) at Jodhpur in Rajasthan - Behaviour ; 132(3-4):255-299
4. Agoramoorthy, Govindasamy 1994: Adult male replacement and Social Change in two troops of Hanuman Langurs (Presbytis entellus) at Jodhpur, India - Intl. J. Primatol. ; 15(2):225-238.
5. Newton, Paul N.1985: The behavioural ecology of forest Hanuman Langurs -Tigerpaper ; 12(3):3-7.
6. Sommer, V. and S. M. Mohnot 1985: New observations on infanticides among Hanuman Langurs (Presbytis entellus) near Jodhpur (Rajasthan/India)- Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. ; 16(3):245-248.

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