Grasping killer monkeys have been discovered to be catching and gobbling up giant rats in Malaysia.
Shocked scientists uncovered the rat-catching macaques on palm oil plantations – and say the hungry predators may very well be used as pest management.
The southern pig-tailed macaques have been usually thought to chow down on fruit.
CLICK ON THE SUN FOR MORE
They’d additionally hunt for meaty prey generally, however typically solely small lizards and birds.
Now scientists have confirmed that these monkeys are additionally commonly snatching and devouring giant rats.
“I used to be shocked after I first noticed that macaques feed on rats in plantations,” mentioned Nadine Ruppert, of the Universiti Sains Malaysia, who revealed her analysis within the Present Biology journal.
“I didn’t anticipate them to hunt these comparatively giant rodents, or that they’d even eat a lot meat.
“They’re broadly identified to be frugivorous primates who sometimes feast on small birds or lizards.”
The report tracked macaques between January 2016 and September 2018 in plantations across the Segari Melintang forest reserve.
Macaque teams usually numbered round 44 monkeys, and killed 3,000 rats per yr on common.
That is almost 70 rats per monkey (or one each 5 days) over the course of a yr.
The macaques would hunt rats whereas they sheltered inside timber, making the rodents straightforward prey.
“By uncovering cavities in oil palm trunks the place rats search shelter throughout the day, one group of pig-tailed macaques can catch greater than 3,000 rats per yr,” mentioned Anna Holzner, of the College of Leipzig.
Rats harm round 10 p.c of palm oil crops by consuming their fruit, in line with estimates.
So scientists now say than slightly than being a pest, the macaques can as an alternative be seen as a pure pest-controller.
Consultants are urging plantation house owners to think about boosting the habitats for macaques.
“We anticipate that our outcomes will encourage each non-public and public plantation house owners to think about the safety of those primates and their pure forest habitat in and round current and newly established oil palm plantations,” mentioned Anja Widdig, of the College of Leipzig.
This story initially appeared in The Solar.