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Interesting facts about proboscis monkeys

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We found 20 interesting facts about the Sunda proboscis monkey

Internet meme stars

These cute mammals from the vervet family live on the largest island of the Malay archipelago, Borneo. They are characterized by the presence of a huge nose, thanks to which these little-known monkeys have become the heroes of funny memes. The Poles fell in love with these animals and, using their images, began to give them names or social roles. Funny pictures were created with "typical Janusz", his wife "typical Grazyna/Galina", their children Jessica and Peter and "typical homebody". Even scientists (the initiator of the study, Dr. Magdalena Lidia Lenda from the Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences) took up the phenomenon of these monkeys and conducted serious research into the funny images of Sunda monkeys.


The Sunda proboscis (Nasalis larvatus) was first described in 1787.

There are two subspecies of Nasalis larvatus:

  • Nasalis larvatus larvatus-nosacz sundajski
  • Nasalis larvatus orientalis-nosacz trąbowy


Proboscis monkeys (proboscis monkeys) live in Borneo, in coastal mangroves and tropical forests along rivers and estuaries. They are not found near populated areas.

Borneo is one of the Greater Sunda Islands located in Southeast Asia. It is the largest island in the Malay Archipelago and Asia and the third largest in the world (after Greenland and New Guinea).

The natives of Borneo call proboscis monkeys monyet belanda (Dutch monkey) or orang belanda (Dutch monkey).

They associate proboscis monkeys with Dutch settlers, who had large bellies and long red noses.

Sunda proboscis monkeys are one of the largest monkeys found in Asia, the only species superior to them is the Tibetan macaque.

Male proboscis monkeys typically measure between 66 and 76 cm and weigh between 16 and 22 kg. Females are usually half the size of males.

The biggest difference between a female and a male is the size of the nose.

The male’s nose is much larger than the female’s and can reach a length of up to 17,5 cm. It is convex, drooping, and cucumber-shaped. In older males, the nose becomes longer. Females have shorter, slightly upturned and pointed noses.

Proboscis monkeys are not uniform in coloration.

The back may be black-brown, light orange or yellowish. The abdomen can be gray or yellow, and the head is usually orange-yellow. Proboscis monkeys have a beige-pink collar around their necks. The limbs and tail are gray.

Thanks to their long limbs, proboscis monkeys can easily move through trees.

They are also helped by long toes and a tail that is slightly longer than the body. The long, thin tail allows proboscis monkeys to maintain balance while jumping through trees.

Sunda proboscis monkeys feed mainly on fruits from January to May and leaves from June to December.

Their biggest delicacy is young clove leaves. Their diet may also include seeds and small invertebrates.

The proboscis monkey eats at least 55 species of plants and can only eat unripe fruits.

Sugar in ripe fruit causes fermentation, which can lead to fatal flatulence.

Animals lead a diurnal and predominantly arboreal lifestyle. They are most active in the afternoon and before dusk.

They spend the day hiking, eating and resting.

They live in small groups consisting of one adult male, two to seven females and their offspring. These groups form a loose herd of approximately 32 individuals.

Monkeys from the same troop spend the night in neighboring trees.

Proboscis monkeys, unlike other monkeys, have the ability to chew food.

This allows them to grind larger pieces of food.

Nose monkeys are the best swimmers among monkeys.

They have a webbed membrane between their toes that makes it easier for them to do this. Thanks to their ability to swim quickly, they can escape from the crocodile, which is their natural enemy.

The biggest enemies of proboscis monkeys are pythons, crocodiles, monitor lizards, eagles and the Sunda leopard.


Proboscis monkeys can make a wide variety of sounds, each of which has a different meaning for the individuals in the herd.

A high-pitched sound, similar to a trumpet, is made when an individual wants to emphasize its position in the herd. Another sound is a warning of an approaching threat.

Female proboscis monkeys reach sexual maturity at about five years of age, and males at about seven years of age.

Monkeys mate from February to November and give birth from March to May.

Copulation between a female and a male lasts about half a minute.


Pregnancy in proboscis monkeys lasts from 166 to 200 days.

The female usually gives birth to one young, which she licks and then eats the placenta. The young feed on their mother's milk until they are seven months old, although from the seventh week they also begin to eat solid food.

The average lifespan of the Sunda proboscis monkey is 13 years.

They are not suitable for breeding in zoos, for example, due to special nutritional requirements.

They are an endangered species.

Over the past 40 years, the proboscis population has declined by almost 50%. The main reason for this is the loss of habitats as a result of deforestation where proboscis monkeys live, as well as hunting by the natives, who consider proboscis meat a delicacy.
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