Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
One of the most bizarre mammals/ primates / lemurs in the world. Their peculiar features include huge ears, bushy tail, long shaggy coast, rodent-like teeth and a skeletal 'probe-like' middle finger. Males and females are simular looking and have a body length of 440-530mm and weight of 2.3kg. They are nocturnal lemurs and largely solitary. During the day they hide in a 'nest' which they make from twigs and dead leaves. They are continually making new nest sites. They feed on ramy nuts (Canarium madagascariensis) nectar from Traveller's palm (Ravenala madagascariensis), some fungi and insect grubs. They have also been known to raid coconut, lichee and mango plantations. They use their rodent-like teeth to gnaw into hard nut shells, then insert the skeletal finger to extract the pulp. A large portion of their night is spent foraging and they are able to travel considerable distances to do that.
HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION: Low and mid altitude rain forests, dry deciduous forests and some cultivated areas like lichee and coconut plantations. They are found widely in native forests along the entire east coast rain forest region, northern humid forests and west coast from Bemaraha north.
THREATENED SPECIES: The population densities are not known but as in the case of most lemurs probably declining through habitat loss as their home-ranges are large. In some areas it is 'fady' (taboo) to hunt them while in others they are thought to bring bad luck and are killed by villages. The meat is also sometimes eaten.
ENDEMIC TO MADAGASCAR