Facts about Aye-aye

We found 26 facts about Aye-aye

“Mangatambo hita, miseo tsy tsara”

Aye-aye is an endemic animal of Madagascar. For many, they are considered the ugliest and the weirdest creatures in the world. The natives believe that directing their longest finger at a person heralds a quick and sudden death. It is also considered a bad omen that harbingers the destruction of crops. While some say aye-aye has a natural predisposition to become a Halloween showpiece, in the movie "Madagascar"—it appears as a funny character of Maurice, King Julien's faithful servant.

It is the only member of the genus Daubentonia.
It belongs to the rarest and most endangered primates. When it was discovered, it was confused with a giant squirrel. Later, aye-ayes were thought to be rodents because of their perpetually growing rodent-like teeth.
Aye-aye was classified as a lemur in the mid-1800s but later reclassified in its own group by itself.
Aye-aye is an endemic species native to Madagascar.
It occupies mostly the east coast of Madagascar, but can also be found in the north-west part of the island.
It is closely related to an extinct giant aye-aye (Daubentonia robusta).
It was 2,5-5 times heavier than aye-aye and occupied south-western parts of Madagascar.
On average, they grow up to 90 centimeters and weigh slightly over 2 kg.
Their signature traits are their fingers.
Each finger serves a different purpose. Their third, thinnest finger is used for tapping, and their fourth, due to its length and hooked nail, is used to pull grubs from tree chambers.
Their thinnest finger has a ball-and-socket metacarpophalangeal joint, which makes them unique in the animal world.
They also possess a sixth digit, called a pseudo-thumb.
Aye-ayes are the largest nocturnal primates in the world.
They begin their activity after sundown and sleep during the day. Awoken, they seem unconscious. Their eyes are covered with a reflective film, reflecting the light and improving their vision in low light.
They are arboreal.
They come down to the ground occasionally, but otherwise, their whole activity happens in the trees.
The aye-aye is omnivorous.
It feeds on larvae, insects, eggs, seeds, fruits, fungi, nectar, and honey.
It is the only mammal that uses echolocation to find prey.
It knocks on the trunks and branches and listens to the echo in order to locate hollow chambers.
Once it locates the chamber inside the tree, it chews a hole and extracts grubs using its narrow middle finger.
Approximately 80% of the night aye-aye spends on foraging.
Aye-ayes are solitary creatures.
They won’t be observed grooming other individuals, however, male territories often overlap and they tend to socialize. The typical male territory covers an area of 100 to 200 ha, while females occupy territories of 30 to 40 ha.
They are polygamous animals, mating with multiple mates.
Mating is preceded by aggressive fights among males who answered a female call.
Females reach sexual maturity at the age of approximately 3 to 3,5 years, while males at the age of 2,5.
Aye-ayes do not have a strict mating season.
They can mate at any time of the year.
A gestation period lasts for five months, after which one infant is born.
An infant does not leave the nest for a period of two months and stays with its mother for almost two years. It leaves once is ready to establish its own territory.
The mammary glands are located in the lower groin area.
This anatomical feature distinguishes aye-aye from other primates.
They mark their territory with a scent.
Aye-ayes rub their cheeks and necks against branches, leaving scents that deter other males from entering the territory.
Their average lifespan ranges from 20 to 25 years in the wild.
Their natural predator is a fossa, a cat-like mammal endemic to Madagascar.
A fossa is the largest predatory mammal living in Madagascar.
They share 93% of their DNA with humans.
It is common for all primates.
Aye-ayes are listed as endangered.
Their population decreases mainly due to deforestation and excessive hunting.
Their peculiar external appearance encourages the Malagasy people to consider them bad omens.
There is a saying “Mangatambo hita, miseo tsy tsara”, which means that seeing the “beast” brings bad fortune. Combining that with their long, thin middle finger pointed at humans, results in aye-ayes getting killed by superstitious inhabitants of the island.
There are between 1,000 and 10,000 aye-ayes alive today.
Their population drastically dropped within the last 30 years. No more than 50 live in zoos and animal shelters.
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