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Depending on subspecies, the body length of the adult monkey is 38-55 centimetres (15–22 in) with comparably short arms and legs. The tail is longer than the body, typically 40–65 cm (16–26 in). Males are considerably larger than females, weighing 5-9 kilograms (11-20 lb) compared to the 3–6 kg (7-13 lb) of female individuals.
The crab-eating macaque is found in a wide variety of habitats, including primary lowland rainforests, disturbed and secondary rainforests, and riverine and coastal forests of nipa palm and mangrove. They also easily adjust to human settlements; they are considered sacred at some Hindu temples and on some small islands, but a pest around farms and villages. Typically they prefer disturbed habitats and forest periphery.