The nasic, arboreal monkey with a funny nose


An excellent swimmer and flyer, the nasal bat is an endemic species of the island of Borneo. Zoom on an easily recognizable primate with its long, soft nose.

The nasic, a monkey with an orange face

The nasic (Nasalis larvatus) belongs to the order of primates and to the family of cercopithecidae, such as macaques. This monkey arboreal has a dark reddish brown coat on the back than on the belly. The upper part of its body sports a pale orange reddish at the top of the head, the outside of the limbs is gray, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are black. Medium in size, the primate has a dimorphism quite pronounced sexual: a male generally measures 65 to 75 cm, weighs between 16 and 22 kg while the female measures between 53 and 62 cm for a weight ranging from 7 to 12 kg.

Nasique: the Cyrano of primates

The main characteristic of the nasic is undoubtedly its nose which grows throughout its life. At birth, its nasal appendage is short and upturned, then it lengthens to completely cover the mouth in adulthood to the point that it has to be pulled out of the hand for feeding. The male’s nose blushes when he’s nervous or in love. During courtship displays, it inflates it like a resonance chamber and performs powerful vocalizations. Females mate more readily with individuals with the longest nasal appendages. This asset of seduction earned him the nickname Cyrano from the simian world.

Mangroves, habitat of the nasal bird

The nasic is a species endemic of the Island of Borneo shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Sultanate of Brunei, in Southeast Asia. The primate evolves in mangroves and forests wet. It is observed in coastal areas as well as inland, but always in plains and near a freshwater stream, river or river for example.

The nasic, a strict vegetarian

Exclusively vegetarian, the nasicum particularly appreciates the leaves of mangroves and do not disdain palm fruits, berries and seeds. Its resistant intestines allow it to consume foods considered inedible. It is to these poorly digestible plants that the primate owes its big belly! This diurnal arboreal monkey comes down to earth during the day to eat then returns to climb more than 10 meters high to escape its predators.

The nasic can practice apnea

This monkey gregarious and territorial lives in groups of fifteen to thirty individuals of all ages and mostly of the same sex. Like many primates, the nasicus practices mutual grooming to maintain social cohesion in the tribe. Agile but adventurous, he jumps from tree to tree sometimes without being sure of the quality of his catch. Its aerobatics of several meters can bring it on a dead branch causing it to fall. It is reported that a quarter of nasal patients present with serious lesions or even fractures united to the limbs. At the slightest threat, the animal takes refuge under water. It is the only species to practice freediving with ease and to swim so quickly. He can also dive from a height of 15 meters.

The little nasic, independent at one year

The breeding season extends from February to November and the birth takes place night, at the end of the rainy season, between March and May. At the end of a gestation period of about 165 days, the female gives birth to a single young weighing on average 500 grams. The mother immediately eats the placenta so as not to attract predators and cleans her baby that she will breastfeed for about seven months. The father’s involvement in education is limited to protecting the newborn from aggressive rivals. After the weaning, the nasicum stays with its mother until its first birthday. If it is a male, he will then leave his parents to join young adults that he will abandon when he reaches sexual maturity, around 7 years old. As for the young female, she will be able to live with her mother or join another harem.

The nasal mosquito, an endangered species

The crocodile, leopard, clouded leopard, and python are among the main predators of the nasal bird. The species is also threatened by the degradation of its habitat due to the deforestation to cultivate palm oil and to urban development. The primate is considered “endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is now protected by the Borneo government which prohibits its capture or its hunting, measures which do not totally deter poachers. His life expectancy is 20 to 25 years wild.

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