Why Do Monkeys Hug? Hugging Behavior Explained

Throughout the world, monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) are among the most well-liked creatures. Monkeys are beloved by many due to their high intelligence and lovely looks. Monkeys come in many different species and are distributed largely in tropical regions of the world. Monkeys are social animals, just as people. They regularly engage and communicate with one another when living in groups. Hugging is one of the things that many find endearing in monkeys. Is this a kind act meant to convey affection, as it is with people? Or does it mean something else? This piece will provide an explanation for why monkeys hug.

Why Do Monkeys Hug? 6 Reasons

Monkeys have social hierarchies and systems within their groups, much like humans do. The most popular term for a group of monkeys is a troop. Hugging is one of the several social activities that monkeys exhibit within their tribe. Monkeys embrace for a variety of reasons, and each explanation has a distinct significance. Six reasons why monkeys hug are listed below. Because both species of primates exhibit hugging habits, this article will also discuss apes and their social interactions.

Comfort Hugging

Like people, monkeys will give each other comforting hugs. Primatologist Zanna Clay of Durham University in the United Kingdom described how abandoned bonobos are now housed in a sanctuary and are consoled by their fellow primates. She said to reporters that they provide support and comfort by giving hugs to orphans. Furthermore, when they are afraid, monkeys and other primates, such as chimpanzees and orangutans, may embrace one another for comfort.

The monkeys give each other comforting hugs when they spot a snake or other potential threat because it can be frightening at times. Hugging is also a de-escalation strategy used by monkeys and apes, especially bonobos. They have a reputation for giving one other hugs to soothe one another and bring peace after an uncomfortable event, particularly following a tense exchange or argument with a fellow group member.

Hugs of Warmth

Monkeys will gather together for warmth, much like you might on a cold night when you’re wrapped up under a blanket. In colder evenings and during rainy weather, monkeys can be observed cuddling up to share body heat. Since the monkeys are all attempting to stay warm, their huddles will get bigger in colder or wetter conditions. Furthermore, the likelihood of monkeys hugging one another at night increases when they engage in social behaviors during the day, such as grooming.

Reunion Hugging

Monkeys are extremely clever animals with intricate social structures. A monkey’s daily routine occasionally requires it to be apart from its group mates. Monkeys in a troop will typically split apart to hunt or eat. Scientists studying primates have observed that after being separated, monkeys—especially spider monkeys—greet each other with a long embrace. The unit members’ embrace serves as a metaphor for their virtual reunion. Hugging is an expression of affection in this situation.

The message is, “I missed you.”Indeed, when primatologist Colleen Schaffner of the University of Chester in the United Kingdom monitored two communities of spider monkeys, she saw several instances of the monkeys reuniting after being split up. “Those who embraced upon meeting again seldom behaved aggressively toward each other or the rest of the group,” according to the data, which demonstrated a trend. This embrace serves as a means of averting any social strife in addition to serving as a symbol of reunion.

To Strengthen Social Bonds

As mentioned earlier, monkeys are rather gregarious animals. Monkeys hug one other to keep the equilibrium of their social structure within their tribe. By continuing to hug each other, the monkeys are able to develop mutual trust and dependence. Like people, the monkeys’ emotional health is influenced by their intimacy and capacity for trust. Since there is a greater likelihood of mutual aversion, it also aids in social group cohesion and reproduction rates.

It also relieves the monkeys’ anxiety and mends any strained social bonds that may have resulted from disagreements or fights amongst them. It also aids in illuminating the group’s social hierarchies. To signal the dominant monkey in the group that they are respected and will not be an aggressor, a submissive monkey can, for instance, give them a hug. Monkeys hug one other, which is essential to their social behaviors and troop cohesion.

Grooming Purposes

It’s common knowledge for many people that monkeys groom themselves. Monkeys will groom each other to preserve social relationships, create social status, and release feel-good endorphins, much like they would when they hug. Monkeys embrace each other a lot, which helps with grooming. Monkeys can more easily start grooming one other when they are hugging since they are so close to one another. It is not surprising that hugging and grooming go hand in hand because they both convey comparable cues about social affiliation and ranking.

Protection Hugs

In order to protect one another, monkeys hug. A larger monkey may give a younger, smaller, or weaker monkey a hug to shield them from possible harm. In order to protect their young from predators, mothers frequently act in this way. Here, the monkeys embrace to give their fellow troop members a physical shield.

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