The Proboscis Monkey

Proboscis Monkey Doodlewash

Today’s uncommon creature comes to us from the southeast Asian island of Borneo and is called a proboscis monkey (suggested by Guest Doodlewasher Sharon Mann). You can literally spot a male version of this monkey a mile away because of its unusually large bulbous nose. Apparently this massive fleshy schnoz is there so they can attract a mate. But the attraction isn’t what you might immediately think. The females aren’t so much attracted to the size of the appendage as it’s ability to produce a thrillingly loud and impressive sound. The bigger the trumpet, the more likely the male is to woo a female and scare off her competing suitors.

Monogamy, however, is not the goal as a group of proboscis is called a harem and consists of one dominant male and two to seven females and their offspring. The remaining males, with presumably smaller noses, form a group of their own. These monkeys are very adept and creative swimmers, hitting the water on their bellies and swimming 65 feet (20 meters) under water. When they are threatened, they’ll taking a spectacular dive into the water to escape.

Unfortunately, like many of this unusual creatures, this species is classified as endangered. Though an odd face, they’re generally good natured with each other, but due to extensive loss of vegetation, there are only about 1,000 of them left. The government of Borneo has instituted strict penalties for those who kill them in an effort to protect what’s left of the dwindling population. If you have a suggestion for the next uncommon creature, please shout it out in the comments!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Pyrrol Red, Dioxazine Purple, Quinacridone Gold, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Curious to the Max 7 years ago

    Want to monkey around?
    just blow with your nose
    to create a sound
    that tingles the toes

    However, it’s said
    if a monkey you bed
    your kids will be hairy
    swing from the trees
    blowing their noses
    hanging by their knees

  2. Jacob 7 years ago

    Oh, he’s so cute and charming! I thought he was blowing a raspberry for a second there, like a proper cheeky monkey… but no, it’s the conk (and what a conk!). This is another new one on me, Charlie – how wonderfully bizarre!

    Is a white tiger uncommon enough? They’re so stunning though!

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob!! Yeah…this is a rare and weird one…wasn’t sure about this doodlewash. Struggled with him since he’s too much like a human face and I don’t do those. lol glad you liked it!! 😃 And I thought about a white tiger actually… but I’ll probably wait until I get through more of the really weird ones! Haha

      • Jacob 7 years ago

        I think he turned out wonderfully. And I’ll look forward to a white tiger if you should choose to do one… I suppose you could otherwise look at the hybrids such as the liger as they could be seen as a little more strange!

  3. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Charlie, yay! thanks for taking my suggestion. Your Proboscis is adorably handsome!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Sharon!! 💕😃 This one was super challenging. Don’t think I did him justice, but it was good practice! Hehe

  4. Great choice, I always think they look sad in documentaries I have seen…..only 1000 ish, that is shocking.

    • Author

      Thanks Rebecca! 😃💕 They do look a bit sad…perhaps they know there numbers are dwindling. Poor things. They’re super interesting…hope they stick around longer!

  5. kathiwerner 7 years ago

    What a cool “music instrument” this monkey has. Awesome guy!

  6. Jodi 7 years ago

    Oh that nose! Im A little turned on. Lol! Great job Charlie o!!

  7. memadtwo 7 years ago

    another great hairstyle! (K)

  8. :)))) hehe so sweet, gorgeous colors and love the haircut! 💜

  9. mike 7 years ago

    in elementary school this monkey showed in a class project somehow. I remember my friend pinching the end of his nose and making this kissy face. I was in uncontrollable laughter and was asked to leave the class until I could control myself which took several hours. I still get a laugh when I see this monkey only because of that face he made.

    I found out while I was in high school, the teacher asked me to leave because my laughing was making her laugh in front of the classroom.

    • Author

      haha!! I love that story… and so happy I caught it… for some reason your comment went to my Spam folder. Guess kissy face is considered questionable!! lol That’s awesome… I can totally picture it and it makes me laugh. Thanks Mike! And sorry for the delay on my response!!

  10. kirkistan 7 years ago

    Great work, as always. with the image.The fur and the lighting are outstanding. But…oy…may I say that is an ugly monkey?

    • Author

      Yes you may…hehe…this one isn’t going to be as popular. Poor guy….he’s not super attractive, but definitely uncommon!! 😉hehe

  11. Cathe 7 years ago

    I love this guy. Whenever I have seen pictures of them I have found them fascinating and so unique. I’m sadden that all these lovely unique characters are on the endangered list. I’d like to say as the human race we can do so much better but this isn’t the forum for that so I will continue to just enjoy your wonderful and creative entries each day Charlie.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Cathe!! 😃💕 These guys are really interesting creatures. And feel to say the human race can do better…we can and should!! It’s sad that so many of these interesting creatures are fading from our world.

  12. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    That is one huge conk indeed. Impressive in an odd way. Well captured Charlie. 🙂

    • Author

      Lol! Thanks so much Susan! 💕😃 Yeah… Such an odd creature. It was difficult to keep it weird and not try to give him a facelift while I sketched. 😊

  13. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    I’ve always thought proboscis monkeys were seriously ugly (I always called them Jimmy Durante monkeys) but you managed to make one look cute enough! 😀 <3

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa! 😃💕Yeah…they’re definitely rocking a Jimmy Durante nose and look so odd. I really struggled with this one… Not sure why… I do think it was difficult to avoid giving it plastic surgery in the sketching though. 😊

  14. Teri C 7 years ago

    Gee, I’ve even heard of this one. You did a great job painting it.

    • Author

      Thanks Teri! 😃💕 Yeah I’d actually heard of this one too… but they’re sort of challenging to capture! Hehe

  15. Catherine Johnson 7 years ago

    Awesome painting! I learned about them for my kid’s class project once.
    Their noses sure are massive.

    • Author

      Thanks Catherine! 😃💕 They’re so odd looking, that once you see one you never forget. Hehe…as uncommon as they are, it’s cool how many people actually have seen or heard of this one!

  16. Kari 7 years ago

    How fun! Although I could do without the loud honking.. I can’t imagine all that noise! I wonder how the in-breeding affects its genetic pool with their harem..

    • Author

      I can’t imagine the in-breeding making them look any weirder… or perhaps that’s part of the reason they look so odd to begin with! lol

  17. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 years ago

    Great rendering of a rather handsome fella. OK, maybe not so handsome but worthy of respect. And still, a wonderful painting.

  18. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Beautiful painting, your attention to detail is fantastic. Maybe your art will bring more attention to the plight of these poor creatures and help keep them around. Fingers crossed.

    • Author

      Thanks Haunani! 😃💕 Here’s hoping! There’s unfortunately so many of these creatures I could do a year long project. Fingers crossed for sure!

  19. Ryan 7 years ago

    I have some questions, is the drawing illustration of the proboscis monkey above of a male or female? Also, if that is a drawing of a male proboscis, why do some male proboscis have a line going down the middle of the nose while some male proboscis don’t? I’m really interested, please answer my questions?

    • Author

      I’m no expert in monkeys…I just like to draw animals! 😊This is a male one because the nose is larger. No idea what the line means.

      • Ryan 7 years ago

        Ok, thanks, lol. Great drawing by the way, did you draw this drawing from a picture or from a real proboscis monkey?

  20. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    I’m sure your Proboscis Monkey has the largest harem around (I almost forgot to add ‘monkey’ to that sentence, which would probably have given you pause).

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Yeah, that would have totally given me pause… and a huge giggle… I now wish you would have omitted that bit. LOL 😃💕

  21. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    Wonderful facts and painting!

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