If you are in search of one of the ugliest creatures on the face of this planet, welcome to Madagascar, where the weirdo lives – the Aye-Aye, and we are going to learn Aye-Aye facts.
Yes, that’s the name of the animal we are about to talk of and trust us, this creature is weird and ugly, really weird and ugly! You don’t trust us?
Fine! Let us learn 40 Aye-Aye facts and we are sure that when you are done reading, you will need a few minutes of loneliness to grasp the degree of oddity you will encounter.
But, before we start…
|Scientific Name||Daubentonia madagascariensis|
|Preys on||Fruits, larvae, insects|
|Predators||Birds of prey, fossa and humans|
|Group Behavior||Solitary animal|
|Top Speed||20 miles per hour or 32 kilometers per hour|
|Weight||4 lbs. to 6 lbs. or, 2 kilos to 2.7 kilos|
|Size (length)||12 inches to 15 inches or 30 centimeters to 40 centimeters|
|Color||Dark Brown or Black|
|Sexual Maturity Age||2 years to 3 years|
|Life Span||10 years to 23 years|
|Gestation Period||170 days|
|Weaning Age||7 years|
|Population Size (Estimated)||1,000 to 10,000|
|Threats||Habitat loss and hunting|
|Distinctive Features||Middle finger is elongated and has hooked claws. The finger can move independently.|
Aye-Aye Facts: 1-5
1. Aye-Aye is a primate and lives only and only in Madagascar, especially in north-eastern parts.
2. The appearance of Aye-Aye is very scary and people actually believe that this animal actually predicts death.
3. Despite the fact that this animal doesn’t really look like a primate, it is actually a relative of apes, chimpanzees and humans.
4. It is actually a lemur species which lives in Madagascar’s deciduous forests and tropical rainforests.
5. The altitude at which they are usually found is 700 meters.
Aye-Aye Facts: 6-10
6. Because people think that the Aye-Aye predicts death, they hunt and kill this animal. Also, people hold the belief that Aye-Aye is a crop pest, which is yet another reason why they hunt and kill this creature.
7. Loss of habitat (decline in forests) is yet another reason why the Aye-Aye population is gradually decreasing, and now it is considered as endangered species.
8. This animal is very small and reaches a maximum length of 17 inches. The minimum length is 14 inches. This length is measured excluding its tail.
9. The tail of the animal is way longer than its body. The tail alone measures 24 inches.
10. The creature has large eyes of golden color, which glow in the dark.
Aye-Aye Facts: 11-15
11. The body of this animal is covered with deep brown or black hair and a few white hairs can be seen here and there on the body.
12. Its ears are very large and naked and it is capable of acute hearing.
13. Aye-Aye, when first discovered, was actually believed to be a rodent. Some scientists actually thought it to be a giant squirrel. However, it was later found that it was actually a lemur.
14. Despite the fact that Aye-Aye is a lemur, it is one really ugly animal with combined features of many other animals. The claws of this primate are like that of a sloth. Its incisors are like that of a rodent. Its body is like that of a monkey and its face looks like a weasel.
15. Aye-Aye barely comes down from trees. It builds several nests in its territory using leaves and twigs and frequently keeps changing nests in order to escape from predators.
Aye-Aye Facts: 16-20
16. Aye-Aye never follows anything called mating season. It mates anytime during the whole year.
17. Female Aye-Ayes have persistent oogenesis. This means that they are capable of reproducing throughout their entire lifetime, that is, until they die.
18. When the females are ready for mating, they produce high-pitched calls. These mating calls make the males aggressive as they fight over mating rights.
19. Female Aye-Ayes are polyandrous. In simple language, during the breeding period, they will mate with not just one male, but with multiple males.
20. Of all nocturnal primates, Aye-Ayes are the largest of all.
Aye-Aye Facts: 21-25
21. All male and female Aye-Ayes look exactly the same. They are so similar in appearance that it actually takes a very close and minute inspection to differentiate males.
22. Of all primates in this world, Aye-Aye is the only primate which makes use of echolocation. Which other animals make use of echolocation? Bats, whales and dolphins do this.
23. When it comes to Aye-Ayes, they will actually tap on tree branches. This tapping will produce an echo, which will tell the Aye-Ayes whether the branches are hollow or not. If hollow, they will then make use of their acute hearing to find out whether there are any movements underneath or not.
24. If they hear any movement, they will use their incisors to bore holes in the branches and then use their third finger (middle finger) to scoop out the insects or larvae. There is only one other known animal that uses this method. It is the striped possum.
25. Talking of fingers, their fingers are really ugly and very unusual. The middle finger or the third finger is the thinnest of all and is capable of making independent movements. It is this middle finger that they use for tapping on tree branches.
Aye-Aye Facts: 26-30
26. This third finger is incredibly useful as it is also used for two other purposes – grooming and drinking. This third finger moves at a speed of 3 strokes in a single second, allowing the Aye-Aye to send water to its mouth.
27. For feeding purposes, the animal makes use of its fourth finger, which is the longest of all fingers. It uses the fourth finger to scoop out larvae and insects from branches.
28. Aye-Ayes have large hands, which they use for gripping branches on trees. Every toe has a functional claw as well except for the big toes.
29. Just like owls, lizards, dogs and camels, Aye-Ayes also have third eyelids. This third eyelid is known as the nictitating membrane and is responsible for keeping the eyes of the Aye-Aye moist. It also acts as a protective layer, protecting the eye from debris when the animal chews and bores hole in tree branches.
30. Talk of incisors, Aye-Ayes have long and sharp teeth on the front, which are responsible for giving the notion that Aye-Ayes were rodents. But what’s about the incisors? They actually grow throughout the lifetime of the Aye-Ayes. In case you didn’t know, the incisors of the rodents also grow throughout their lifetime.
Aye-Aye Facts: 31-35
31. When the female Aye-Ayes conceive, they carry the babies in the womb for a period of 5 months.
32. Only one baby Aye-Aye is born and once it is born, the mother nurses the baby. Baby sucks on the nipples of the mother, which are present between the mother’s hind legs.
33. Newborn babies are totally dependent on their mothers and cannot leave the nest for 2 months or 60 days. It is during this time that the mother takes care of the baby during the day time and at night, she leaves her and goes out to find food.
34. Once the baby is capable of getting out of the nest, the mother continues to take care of the baby and actually plays around, chasing the baby among trees, tapping on tree branches only for fun and more.
35. These mother-child activities continue until the baby attains the age of 18 to 24 months. That’s when the baby leaves the mother and goes off on its own.
Aye-Aye Facts: 36-40
36. The nest that the Aye-Aye makes looks like a ball. The nest is made of branches, twigs and leaves.
37. The nests actually look like closed spheres with a single entry point. These nests are usually built on forks of very large trees.
38. It is not that the Aye-Ayes eat only insects and larvae. They even eat fruits and even coconuts. They also find fungi a tasty supplement to their diet.
39. Why is the Aye-Aye called Aye-Aye? Scientists really don’t know! Some say that the words Aye Aye were a cry out of astonishment and exclamation and fear when the locals first spotted the creature. This theory was actually given by Pierre Sonnerat – a naturalist from France. The other theory is that the name Aye-Aye from the Malagasy phrase known as “heh heh”, which translates into ‘I don’t Know’.
40. The story is that when people asked the locals about the creature, they said ‘heh heh’ simply because they actually didn’t know or perhaps they were too afraid to speak about the animal.