Facts about Proboscis Monkey

The proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) or long-nosed monkey, known as the bekantan in Indonesia, is a reddish-brown arboreal Old World monkey with an unusually large nose. They are also called the Monyet Belanda Monkey, which means the long nosed Monkey. It belongs to the Old World classification. In the Egyptian Culture they were worshipped as a very unique animal and believed to be special to the gods.

Proboscis means nose, which explains their name, as the noses on the males of this species are clownishly large. These unique monkeys inhabit the island of Borneo in southern Asia and nowhere else on the planet. Their over-sized noses allow the male Proboscis monkeys to make loud bellowing noises to warn of predators or to attract mates.

The other notable feature of these monkeys is there protruding stomachs, which allow them to digest their primary food of unripe fruits.

The proboscis monkey is only found on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. It is present in all of the countries that make up Borneo, namely Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

The long nose if this Monkey is a very distinct feature that separates it from all other species. In fact, when people first noticed it they didnt even think it was a Monkey due to the look of it. The males have a nose that is even larger than that of the females. It is believed that a larger nose is going to attract females. The nose can be up to 7 inches long.

They have unique colour of orange-brown coat with grey arms, legs and tail. Females are smaller and typically weigh 7-12 kg. The male has a head to body length of 65-75 cm with females slightly smaller at 55-65 cm. The male is one of the largest monkeys in Asia and typically weighs 16-22 kg but can weigh as much as 30 kg.

It is believed that the large nose allows for the sounds to be bolder than that of other Monkeys, they have very loud warning calls. They can live in groups that range from 10 to 30. The Monkeys dont always stay in the same group though. They can move from one to the next frequently. This is very different from most other groups of Monkey species.

They love swimming, and they are able to swim very well even in deep water. For that case, they normally move from one island to another. It also offers them a place to cool off and for having some fun playing around. They have been seen walking in an upright position along the trails in the forest.

The nose of Proboscis monkey develops with age. Females have smaller noses whilst the males nose can be up to 18 cm in length. Both male and females have large stomachs which look like pot bellies.

Researchers have found that a bigger nose alters the monkeys vocalizations so that the males bulk and nose size is communicated to females in faraway locations. The sound impresses females and can intimidate other males. Males with big noses also have larger testes and also weigh more than smaller nosed proboscis monkeys. Male proboscis monkeys with larger noses attract more females to their harem.

The proboscis monkey lives in riverine forest, lowland forest, mangroves and peat swamp. It is usually restricted to habitats within 1-2 km of a large waterway. They never straying far from the islands rivers, coastal mangroves, and swamps.

They live in organized harem groups consisting of a dominant male and two to seven females and their offspring. Various groups often congregate near water at night to sleep. They are a highly arboreal species and will venture onto land only occasionally to search for food, they are rarely come to the ground.

Proboscis monkeys eat leaves, unripe non-fleshy fruit, seeds and occasionally insects. They have large, chambered stomachs that contain symbiotic bacteria for fast digestion.

The Proboscis Monkey has a short life span in the wild of about 13 - 20 years. If conserved they may live up to 30 years.

The two key threats to the survival of the proboscis monkey are habitat destruction and hunting. These monkeys live in coastal and riverine habitats. Such areas are often subject to extensive human development activities. Large scale clearing of riverbanks and mangrove forests across Borneo has had a major impact on this species.

They reproduce sexually by mating. Both sexes can initiate mating and do so by making pouting faces. Females attain sexual maturity at five years old, they present themselves and shake their heads from side to side. Females are the ones that initiate mating, Males may vocalize. Mating can take place throughout the year, when there is plenty of food. Juveniles often interrupt and harass mating couples and sometimes pull the males nose.

The gestation period is around 6 months. The birth takes place at night or early morning. Infants are born with black fur and a bluish face that will soon turn pinkish. They develop adult colouration at 3-4 months. The infants start eating solids around 6 weeks and are weaned at 6-7 months. Mothers allow other females from their troop to hold their young.

The young stay close to their mothers for around a year then become more independent.  Females stay with the group whilst males leave at 18 months and join bachelor groups.

That's all about Proboscis monkeys, if you've any opinions about this article feel free to leave your comment below. See you next time!.

Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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