Asian Mammals, Asian Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 17

Proboscis Monkey

Proboscis Monkey Kinabatangan Sabah Borneo Malaysia

“Sometimes a man may be as ugly as a monkey, and a monkey may have something very human about it; indeed, it is quite customary to call monkeys humanity’s caricatures. Of none this can be said with such truth as of the Borneo proboscis-monkey” – Eric Mjöberg, Forest Life and Adventures in the Malay Archipelago

The proboscis or long-nosed monkey (Nasalis lavartus) is endemic to the jungles of Borneo, living close to rivers, tidal swamps and mangroves. It never ventures too far away from water and is rarely seen far inland – it might therefore not come as a surprise that they are proficient swimmers with evolved webbed feet and hands in order to outpace saltwater crocodiles. However, the species is highly arboreal and instead of swimming most prefer to cross water by impressive leaps – often followed by rather comical flat landings on their distinctive pot-belly.

Proboscis Monkey Kinabatangan Sabah Borneo Malaysia

Proboscis monkeys are sexually dimorphic with males that have giant noses dwarfing those of the females and often hanging lower than their mouth. This fleshy appendage doesn’t give the proboscis a better sense of smell than other monkeys: it instead provides them with an organ that amplifies their vocal powers – handy when warning other group members of imminent danger and impressive for the many females that live in their harem.

Proboscis Monkey Kinabatangan Sabah Borneo Malaysia

Proboscis Monkeys Juveniles Kinabatangan Sabah Borneo Malaysia



    • We were very thrilled Dries – together with the Orang Utan and Gibbon the Proboscis is one of the large ‘must-see’ primates. Fortunately there are still healthy populations to be found around the Kinabatangang river.

  1. These are amazing Maurice. I’ve read a little about them, these fascinating animals. It must have been exciting to see them in real-time, with your own eyes!

    • It was definitely very exciting Takami to see them up-close in the wild – despite the fact that they almost always sit high in the tree tops.

  2. I remembered seeing them for the first time in Borneo. these creatures are fascinating. I was surprised to hear from our guide about the utility of the big appendix. Interesting !

  3. Girl Gone Expat says

    Wonderful photos of the proboscis monkeys. It is quite an impressive nose the male in your intro picture has:) I noticed the ones in the last picture don’t seem to have this large nose. Are they juveniles that have not started developing the nose yet?

    • Thank you Inger 🙂 that’s correct, the three staring down are females and the other two are juveniles – they’ll be blessed with one later on :)))

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