Monkeys are famously social animals, and this macaque certainly appears to have a knack for making friends.
The long-tailed macaque was photographed being carried around by a particularly accommodating Chital deer at a zoo in Malaysia.
The cute creature was so comfortable draped across the female deer’s back it even took a snooze as the odd couple made their way around the enclosure, to the delight of onlookers.
Stunned visitors at Melaka Zoo in Malaysia watched as the monkey groomed the female deer before clambering onto her back and making itself comfortable, rearranging its sitting position before lying flat across the larger creature’s back.
Carol Smith, who captured the endearing images of the unlikely pair, said the deer seemed unperturbed by the presence of the furry hitchhiker, and proceeded to stroll contentedly around the enclosure, stopping to eat some grass as the macaque peeped over her shoulder.
Despite letting the spotted deer do all the heavy lifting, the monkey even took a snooze in his comfy perch.
‘We watched the monkey grooming the female deer and there seemed to be a real bond between the two,’ said Ms Smith.
‘All the other deer took no notice of the odd couple and just went about their business.
‘After a while we were stunned to see the monkey climb on top of the deer’s back.
‘The deer was totally relaxed with this and got up and started to walk around, with the monkey draped on its back.
‘The monkey seemed to be quite enjoying itself and would occasionally groom the deer, drape itself over, or sit up either facing forwards or backwards.
‘It was a very skilled rider and a bit of a show-off,’ she said.
The Australian amateur photographer, who took the pictures while on holiday in Malaysia with her partner Les Christidis, said she thought the animals must have been friends for a while, as the surrounding herd of 20 deer paid no attention to the twosome’s behaviour.
‘The monkey’s grooming behaviour suggested it closely identified with the deer,’ she said.
‘The female deer even stopped to eat some hay as she wandered around with the monkey on her back,’ she said.
Despite the bond between the macaque and this friendly Bambi lookalike, it seems the monkey is not so popular with the other deer at Melaka Zoo.
‘When the monkey dismounted it tried to hitch a ride with some other deer,’ said Ms Smith, a disability worker from Urunga in New South Wales.
‘They were not so accommodating.
‘Its attempt to groom them was not well-received and the other deer kept moving off.
‘On two occasions the monkey tried to climb on the back of other deer – they were not impressed at all and ran off,’ she said.