Aye-ayes are interesting little primates that are found on the island of Madagascar. These nocturnal creatures reside in the deciduous forests and rainforests of eastern Madagascar. They are the objects of criticism and superstition in their native land. This is largely due to their odd appearance.
Aye-ayes appear to be large rodents, at first glance. They have small faces and large, round yellow eyes. The Aye-aye’s tail is long and bushy like that of a squirrel. In adulthood the Aye-aye is covered in black or brown hair. They can weigh up to 5.5 pounds and have an average body length of 13 inches with a 17-inch tail. The average lifespan of an Aye-aye is heretofore unknown, but they have lived up to 23 years in captivity.
Ay-ayes have one very unusual feature. All of their digits are long and thin, but their middle digit can be up to three times longer than the others. Natives of Madagascar believe that if an Aye-aye points its middle finger at you then they have cursed you to die soon. The only way to stop this from happening is to kill the Aye-aye that cursed you.
Aye-ayes live mostly solitary lives, but they have been known to socially interact with each other outside of mating. Aye-ayes are territorial. The males will have territories that are up to 80 acres in size. The female’s territories are much smaller, being only around 20 acres. Male territories will sometimes run over into other male’s territories and into other female’s territories, though a female Aye-aye’s territory will never run over into another female’s.
Mating happens throughout most of the year and baby Aye-ayes can be born at any time. The gestation period for a female Aye-aye is around five months. Males will stay with their mates throughout the pregnancy and will even wait until the babies have grown a little before they leave. Male Aye-ayes have been known to interact with their offspring by sharing food. However, the mother is the primary source of interaction for the baby. The baby will stay with its mother for up to two years.
Aye-ayes are omnivorous. They will eat grubs, nuts, seeds, nectar, fruit and more. They can chew holes in trees and use their abnormally large middle finger to dig out grubs from the holes they have made.
At this time Aye-ayes are not an endangered species. However, like many species, their habitat is being encroached upon by humans. It is essential that the Aye-aye’s habitat be preserved, because Madagascar is its only home.
Aye-aye, retrieved 6/17/09, pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/aye-aye
Aye-aye, retrieved 6/17/09, wikipedia.org/wiki/Aye-aye