The Pinocchio Of The Monkey World – Long Nose Monkey

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Do you know about an animal that uses the nose to attract females? Yeah, it exists. The proboscis monkeys have a fleshy pendulous nose. They use it to attract female animals.

A proboscis is a group of monkeys that belongs to the subfamily of Colobinae. It is an old-world monkey species.

Where do long nose monkeys live?

The long nose monkeys or proboscis live in the jungles of Borneo. They are an arboreal species that is endemic to the place and stay close to coastal mangroves, swamps, and the island’s rivers.


Proboscis monkeys are considered one of the largest monkey species native to the Asian continent.  The male monkey has a head to body length of 66 to 76.2 cm. It weighs about 6 to 76.2 kg. The maximum weight of a male that has been reported so far is 30 kg. A female proboscis monkey is about 53.3 to 62 cm in head-and-body length and typically weighs about 7 to 12 kg. The maximum known weight of a female is 15 kg.

The nose of proboscis monkeys hangs below the mouth. It can exceed 10.2 cm. Though the nose of females is not the same as the male ones, it is also fairly larger compared to a primate. This species of monkeys have a long coat with reddish-brown, yellowish-brown, brick red, or bright orange. Usually, the underfur is yellowish, greyish to light-orange or light-grey. They have grey-colored legs, arms, and the tail. The cream color face has small intelligent eyes.

The infants have blue-colored faces during birth. It takes about two and half months to turn grey. After about 8.5 months their faces turn cream color just like adults.

The proboscis monkeys have buldging stomachs. Their toes are webbed as an adaptation for swimming.

What do they eat?

Proboscis monkeys are omnivores. They love to eat seeds, unripe food, and leaves and tend to eat insects too.  Sometimes caterpillars, larvae, and some invertebrates also become a diet for proboscis monkeys. Their complex and chambered stomach allows the digestion of food. The host of symbiotic bacteria is responsible for digestion.


Proboscis monkeys are a group of highly social animals. They use different vocalizations to communicate with each other. The male animals emit honks when communicating the status of the group. There is a special honk emission for infants. It is used for reassurance. It is common to see alarm calls emitted by males to signal dangers. Not only males but also females give threat calls. The ‘female calls’ are emitted by female proboscis and immature individuals when they are angry. Proboscis monkeys use nonvocal communication methods like leaping-branch shaking, erection in males, and bare-teeth open mouth threats.


The proboscis monkeys show a polygynous mating system. The dominant male in the troop mates with the females. The females grow in reproductive maturity in 4 years and for males 4-5 years. Normally, the breeding period is between February and November. Females in the troop help each other to raise the infant. The infant lives with the mother during the first year. The young female proboscis monkeys join with the natal group while the male disperse copes with all-male bachelor groups after the mother giving birth to a new offspring.

Proboscis Monkeys can swim

Proboscis is regarded as the world’s most prolific swimmers. They leap into the water from tree branches.

These monkeys cross rivers by swimming. They may also cross one bank by jumping from a tree to another. They use a variety of techniques in swimming. Hitting water from their belly is their famous technique. They can go up to 20 meters in the distance when swimming underwater.

Proboscis monkeys tend to dive into the water in case of danger. They find water as the shelter to escape from dangers. Their webbed feet and hands are helpful for swimming.

Life Span

The proboscis monkeys live for about 20 to 30 years.

Threats to the existence

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Proboscis monkeys have been identified as an engendered species and listed since 2000. There are about 7000 proboscis monkeys are left in the wild.

The major threat to the survival of this species is habitat loss. People clear their habitat for several reasons making these poor monkeys homeless. Growing along river banks and cutting of mangrove trees are some human activities that destroy the natural habitats of proboscis monkeys. Forest fires are also a great threat to their lives.

People develop settlements and shrimp farms in the coastal area by destroying proboscis monkey habitats.

People hunt the proboscis monkeys for food. The intestinal bezoar stones of this animal are taken as an ingredient for Chinese medicine. Actually, proboscis monkeys are easy prey for the hunters.

Interesting facts about proboscis monkeys

  • The long nose is a tactic to attract females. It is a sexual selection of female proboscis monkeys that like louder vocalizations. The size of the nose increases the volume of calls.
  • Proboscis gets flock together in the evening. They sleep together. The long-nose monkeys also have gatherings just like us. Those are called bands.
  • Proboscis monkeys have a social group. They tend to mate within the same social group. Normally, a female gives birth to a single offspring. It takes 166 – 200 days for gestation and birth happens early in the morning or night.
  • The long-nose monkeys eat unripe fruits. They can’t consume ripe fruits as sugar in them can ferment in the stomach. Ferment can lead to fatal bloating.
  • They live in groups comprised of one adult male, few female animals, and offspring. You will see troops having 2-30 animals more frequently. Even all-male groups exist in this species. Some male monkeys tend to live solitary.
  • The big belly of proboscis monkeys looks like a potbelly.
  • These monkeys are diurnal which means they love to be active from late afternoon until dark.
  • Female monkeys perform social grooming. One grooming can last for about 1 to 5 minutes.

To Sum Up

The long nose monkeys are a gift from nature. It has been endangered due to human activities. It is our paramount duty to help these creatures to live safely. The Earth is not only for human beings but for all animals and trees. We should keep that in minds.


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