install theme
This is an amusing animal, purely because of it’s tendency to offend us humans. No, not by it’s startling appearance but the, er.. It gives people the finger. It’s not the aye-aye’s (Daubentonia madagascariensis) fault! They may be primates, but they certainly  don’t pay attention to what we consider rude. They just simply go along with their day tapping on trees with their middle finger, listening for insect larvae and.. I guess you could say giving grubs the bird while it fishes them out with that same middle finger. That finger also proves useful for scooping out coconut flesh and devouring other yummy fruits. 
So it’s easy to see why this nocturnal primate spends it’s time roaming the rain forest trees and avoiding earth at all costs.. It doesn’t want to offend us! I kid, I kid. It’s food source is IN the trees! That, and the fact that people native to Madagascar consider them an omen of bad luck and kill them on sight. I, personally, think that’s more ill luck for the aye-aye.. Whose also loosing its home to habitat destruction and has already been unfortunate enough to find itself on the critically endangered list.
First discovered in 1780, this mysterious mammal was thought to be a new species of squirrel due to it’s large bushy tail and rapidly growing rodent-like teeth. Upon further investigation, it was deemed the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), the world’s largest nocturnal primate endemic to Madagascar. Since Madagascar lacks woodpeckers, the aye-aye’s niche in their ecosystem is the ability to extract insects from wood with their long fingers. They do this with a careful drumming, up to 40 times in a minute, and keenly listening with their ears. This brilliant hearing allows them to detect between wood with cavities for bugs, or just solid wood. Once detected, they will use their sharp front teeth to gnaw wood away, then using their uniquely thin fingers to pull out grubs. Adaptation has made their fingers unique, since they are up to 3x longer than most, extremely flexible, and move up to 30 degrees sideways from their joints. This technique of hunting requires much learning, since they are only able to use their extraordinary senses six weeks after birth. Mocking their mothers movements, careful tapping and precise drumming is practiced for up to a quarter of their childhood. Once their mother finds food, the offspring acts like a human child with an ice cream cone, stealing it from the mother in a proud manner. It’s thanks to their huge brains that they not only act surprisingly full of themselves at a young age, but also that they’re very fickle in what enters their stomachs. Mother’s consent is needed prior to devouring any type of prey. The steady loss of their forest homes is threatening this species population.. Along with the people of Madagascar having long thought if this ‘evil’ primate points it’s middle finger at you, you are condemned to die unless you first kill the evil aye-aye. 
Photo credit: Frank.Vassen
TOP