Stan the aye-aye

common nameconservation status
 Aye-aye Endangered (EN)
scientific namesize
Daubentonia madagascarensis92-104 cm (36-41 in)
familyweigh
Daubentoniidae2 kg (4 lb)
orderlifespan
Primates23 years
class gestation period
Mammalia166 days
 population diet
Unknown, but decreasingThey most commonly feed on fruits and insect larvae.
habitatrange
Tree tops of tropical forests trees.Tropical forest that covers the east of Madagascar.

Did you know...

1.

It is a nocturnal and solitary species of lemur. During the day they sleep in nests they build out of leaves and twigs hidden in the dense foliage of trees.

 

2.

They have continually growing incisors (like rodents) they use to gnaw through the bark of trees and reach the insect larvae under it.

 

3.

One of the fingers is slender and longer than the rest. They use it as a hook to extract larvae from the holes they make in the trees with their teeth. They also use it to scoop the flesh out of fruits.

 

4.

Curiously enough, as it is capable of extracting larvae within the wood using its finger, it fills the ecological niche of woodpeckers.

 

5.

In Madagascar it is believed that there is an “evil spirit” within the animal and that an aye-aye can curse a person by pointing at them with its unique finger, which led to many of them being killed on sight. The loss of habitat and this hunting pressure are the main threats to the survival of the aye-aye in this large island.

 

6.

It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate.

7.

Despite being solitary animals, they interact peacefully with one another (except during mating season) and they hardly ever defend their territory by fighting. The aye-aye marks its territory with the scent glands it has on cheeks and necks. The scent repels intruders from their territory.

 

8.

Females take care of the babies and carry them on her back until they are 13 months.

 

9.

In order to locate larvae, it taps on trees with their long middle finger and listens for the echoing sounds with its large ears (percussive foraging). That is how they locate the wood cavities where larvae reside to extract them.

 

10.

The aye-aye is the only remaining member of its genus (Daubentonia).

 

11.

They spend their lives in trees and they avoid coming down to earth, where they are much more vulnerable.

 

12.

The aye-aye can become very aggressive during the mating season. A male can even fight over a female, attack the other male and take her away.

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