Strange Looking Animals The Aye-Aye and Lemur of Madagascar ~ Kwentology


What is an Aye-Aye?

With big yellow eyes set in a pointy face, large rounded ears, shaggy fur, and an extra-long middle finger that rivals E.T.'s (Extra Terrestrial), the aye-aye is one strange-looking creature. But what exactly is it?

Early naturalist believed that the aye-aye (pronounced as eye-eye) to be some type of rodent, possibly a squirrel, because its teeth never stopped growing. Modern scientists say the aye-aye is a primate, close relative of the lemur. The rare and endangered aye-ayes live in the rainforest of Madagascar, an island off the southeastern coast of Africa.

Image of Aye-aye Animal from Madagascar Africa

What Long Fingers You Have!

An aye-aye's bony middle finger is long for a reason. It feeds on tiny insects called grubs, that live deep inside the wood of trees. To reach these tasty morsels, an aye-aye will first tap on dead wood. When animal's sensitive ears pick up a hollow sound, it begins to gnaw the wood with its sharp teeth. Then it sticks its middle finger deep inside the hole, using its hooked claw to retrieve its meal.

Aye-ayes are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. In fact, aye-ayes are the largest nocturnal primates in the world. During the day, they sleep in round nests made of twigs and leaves, which they build in the forks of trees.

Oh, Baby Aye-aye

Females give birth to one offspring at a time. The young aye-aye stays with its mother until it is around two years old, when it leaves to find its own home.

What's More About Aye-aye?

Madagascar, home to the aye-aye, is the fourth largest island in the world. This remote nation in Indian Ocean is about the size of Texas. Up to 75 percent of species that live on the island are endemic, which means they are unique to Madagascar, living nowhere else in the world. The aye-aye is one such species.

Happy Feet Lemurs

Image of Dancing Lemurs of Madagascar

Another animal found only in Madagascar is the sifaka, a large lemur, a type of primate. Sifakas are most at home in trees, and usually get around by leaping from tree to tree. When they are forced to travel on the ground, they have a unique walk. With arms raised, they hop sideways on their hind legs. No wonder sifakas are known as "dancing lemurs."
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