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Proboscis Monkey

Name of a sandy-brown arboreal primate, with a large belly and a distinctive, protruding nose, which earned it the scientific name Nasalis larvatus. It is endemic to Borneo, where it lives in small groups, in mangrove forests, swamps and lowland forests near river-banks. Its large belly is a result of its diet. It feeds mainly on leaves, which are hard to digest. Its enlarged stomach contains bacteria that help break down cellulose and neutralize poisons found in certain leaves. A side-effect of this unique digestive system is that it is unable to digest sweet fruit, because the bacteria ferment them very rapidly, producing huge amounts of gas and acid, filling the stomach like a balloon, which causes discomfort and can even lead to death. In Indonesia, this monkey is nicknamed ‘Orang Belanda’, which means ‘Dutchman’ and refers to these former colonialists’ large bellies and noses, and reminiscent to what the Chinese sometimes call Caucasians, i.e. Big Noses. The Proboscis Monkey is also called Long-nosed Monkey.