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The Aye Aye Finds a Meal

In Madagascar there lives the world’s largest nocturnal primate. Once named the long fingered lemur until a French naturalist saw an illustration of this creature and exclaimed Aye-Aye! It is considered by many as one of the uglier creatures in nature so the name stuck. But the long finger that the Aye Aye possesses should not be forgotten about.

They use their long middle finger to tap on the bark of trees to find grubs. This is called percussive foraging, and this method of looking for food is so rare that the striped possum is the only other animal in the world to use it. But the Aye Aye is not done with its long finger yet. After a small hole is chewed in the bark with its forward slanted teeth, it reaches its middle finger in to retrieve its supper.

They may come down occasionally but they spend their lives in nests they make near to canopy of the forest. Sleeping during the day and coming out at night to feed on seeds, fruits, nectar and fungi, but mostly on insect larvae. During the Aye Aye’s activities at night they can cover up to 2.5 miles traveling on tree branches alone. They are mostly considered a solitary primate but more studies are showing they are more social than previously thought.

The Aye Aye’s peculiar look and oddly long middle finger have caused the locals to believe they are more evil than cute. The most common believe is that if an Aye Aye pointed its middle finger toward someone, then they were marked for death. The only way to purify this curse was to kill the Aye Aye that pointed at them. With their fearless approach to humans, combined with human’s fear of this strange creature, they were thought to have been killed to extinction in 1933 but have been since rediscovered and placed on the endangered list.

Information From:
Aye-Aye Daubentonia madagascariensis
National Geographic May 18,2010

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Eric Bender

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