Men with long noses and a harem of women
by Nikki McKee
The proboscis monkey (also known as the long-nosed monkey) is quite an interesting sight. Their long noses do look rather odd. It is the males that have the large and what you could call overgrown nose, the females noses are less so and are more pointed.
What is the point (pun intended) of the long nose that seems rather awkward? It’s all about impressing the ladies. It’s not necessarily a matter of the bigger the nose the more attractive the male, it’s more to do with the echo chamber the nose creates so that the call of the monkey is amplified. This is what impresses the ladies and at the same time intimidates other males.
When travelling down the Kinabatangan River in Borneo, you’re likely to see many groups of these interesting creatures. They live in harems with one dominant male, up to 7 females and their off spring. The group size ranges from about 10 to 30. They don’t stray far from the rivers edges and you’re most likely to spot them by the movement in the trees. 20 odd monkeys in a tree, jumping from tree to tree ruffles an otherwise still tree line on the waters edge. It is quite a comical sight to see how far they jump and how the young ones respond when they have taken on a jump that was a bit too far.
Not many monkeys can swim and in fact in some zoos it is common for water to be used to “fence” the monkeys in. But the proboscis monkeys can swim quite well and have even been known to outpace crocodiles. Crocodiles can often be seen waiting patiently at the waters edge waiting for a wandering monkey to come by.
In Borneo, the Proboscis Monkey is classed as an endangered species and is now protected. Loss of habitat and vegetation are the main cause. Yet cruising the Kinabatangan river you would not know they are endangered. They make for quite an entertaining cruise and you can’t help but smile and be fascinated when you see these creatures in the wild.
Big thanks to Travelbay customer Kerry Raymont for sharing photos 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 with us on her return from Borneo.
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