Proboscis monkeys are often spotted lounging at the branches high on trees, and it is not uncommon to see them leaping through the air from tree to tree. Spotting the young proboscis monkeys in action will be extra interesting. With dusk approaching, many visitors will also comment about the breathtaking sunset, which brings a special comfort to one's heart. Most tour companies will provide a dinner at the end of the river cruise in their rustic cafes.
Facts and Features of Proboscis Monkeys:
Found only on the island of Borneo, proboscis monkey lives mostly along the banks and river mouths of large rivers, the mangroves areas and also in swampy areas. The scientific name for the Proboscis monkey is Nasalis Larvatus. It is estimated that there are only about 8,000 of these monkeys left in the Borneo forest. The Kinabatangan Floodplain, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Santuary and the Klias Peninsula are the main places to catch a glimspe of these monkeys in Sabah.
Even from afar the large protruding nose of a male proboscis monkey can be seen, this earns it the notorious nick name of “orang belanda” by the locals, who think the Dutch has the same feature. The nose is large enough that some time it has to push the nose out of the way before putting some food in its mouth. Another known fact is when the proboscis monkey becomes angry or excited its nose will swell and turn red. Note: female proboscis monkey has a small nose.
Another unique feature of proboscis monkey is it's pot belly. This is because its digestive system is divided into several parts. During it's digestive process a lot of gas is being released in the stomach, hence resulting in a “bloated” belly. A side-effect of this unique digestive system is that it can't digest ripe fruit, unlike most other monkeys. Because of this, the proboscis monkey has a completely different set of diet compared with other monkeys. Its diet consists mainly of fruits, seeds, and leaves. As a guide line, what the proboscis monkey eats, man should not eat, period. These foods can be poisonous to human.
Unlike the orangutan, proboscis monkey is a very good swimmer. It is often seen swimming across streams and rivers. Even reports by fishermen who have picked them up a mile (3 km) out at sea are not uncommon. This is also why the proboscis monkeys often settle down on tree tops along the riverbanks in the evening. When attacked or invaded by predators at night, they can just jump into the river and swim away to safety.
While wading on shallow waters, this monkey walks upright, with the females carrying infants on their hips. It will continue to walk upright after emerging on land – the only non-human mammal (with the exception of gibbons and giant Pangolins) known to walk this way for any length of time.
Proboscis monkeys have grey, reddish brown and orange colours on their heads, while their young ones have dark blue faces. Their long tails are always hanging vertically down when the monkeys are sitting on the branches of the trees.
Males are much larger than females, reaching 72cm (28 inches) in length, with a tail up to 75 cm long, and weighing up to 24 kg (53 pounds). Females are up to 60 cm long, weighing up to 12 kg (26 pounds).
Klias Wetland is also a birdwatchers' paradise. This area is home to a multitude of birds including the colourful kingfishers, the ever present egrets, and the brave eagles.
After dinner and a full stomach, the time is just right to observe the interesting fireflies in the trees around that areas. With luck sometimes visitors can see a whole tree lit up by fireflies that resembles a Christmas tree. This is where the tour ends. Now visitors have two choices: one can choose to stay at the lodges that run by the many tour companies which operate in Klias Wetland. Experience a night out at the wilderness with the basic neccessity. Or one can take a two hour drive back to the busting and lively city of Kota Kinabalu.
How to go there? One can drive down to the Klias peninsula from Kota Kinabalu. Just take the A2 highway, go south, and before reaching Beaufort turn in to A7, there will be enough signboards to lead one to the starting point at Klias. For the independent travellers, it is best to book a tour package with tour agents, who will arrange the transport to and back from Kota Kinabalu. If you want to come to Klias by yourself, there are buses going to this region from the bus station in KK opposite the court house.
Below are companies that provide tour packages and lodging at Klias Wetland: