aye-aye: A very creepy lemur

Aye-Aye
By nomis-simon - https://www.flickr.com/photos/nomissimon/15819070729/, CC BY 2.0, Link

The Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), is a lemur that lives in Madagascar like others of it’s ilk. What makes this animal amazing are it’s adaptations related to diet and environment. This animal was first considered a rodent because of its ever-growing incisors. Then, it was thought to be like a squirrel due to its toes, hair-color and bushy tail. Now we know that it is a long-lost cousin of the Indri.

These nocturnal primates have yellow and black patches along their body. They have a very interesting third finger in the hand that taps a branch to feel for grubs and worms, very much like the beak of a woodpecker. Once the tasty morsel is found, the very sharp incisors come into action and tear the bark apart to allow the long finger to dive in, spear the insect, and then gobble it up. The teeth are also used very effectively to dig into a coconut and get to the creamy kernel inside, again using the long third finger.

They also have big, orange eyes, slender fingers, and large, sensitive ears. Aye-ayes have pointed claws on all their fingers and toes except for their opposable big toes, which enable them to dangle from branches.

Nevertheless, It is a rather ugly (truly a face that only a mother Aye-ye would love) animal and does not make for a very cuddly and lovable creature, unlike other lemurs.

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Aye-ayes spend their lives in rainforest trees and avoid coming down to earth. They spend the day curled up in a ball-like nest of leaves and branches. The nests appear as closed spheres with single entry holes, situated in the forks of large trees.

There is no fixed breeding season and the female territories often overlap several male territories. So a female will call for an available male using a distinctive sound and mate with several where possible. A single young one is born after 160 days or so and remains with the mother for around two months.

Due to their rather unfortunate looks, many people native to Madagascar consider the aye-aye an ill omen. For this reason they often have been killed on sight. Such hunting, coupled with habitat destruction, have put aye-aye populations at-risk. They are listed as as “Endangered”┬áby the RedList.

 

About mammal 44 Articles
I blog about mammals and all the interesting and fun-filled facts about them will be welcome additions to this blog.

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