The aye aye is a nocturnal primate native to the Island of Madagascar bearing the scientific name Daubentonia madagascariensis. They live on tree branches sleeping during the day, while at night, they are out looking for food.
Other characteristics of the aye aye:
- It is black or dark brown with big eyes, large sensitive ears, rat-like teeth, and five slender fingers on both hands and a pseudo-thumb.
- Its fingers and have pointed claws, but for their big toe with which they dangle from trees.
- It has a narrow middle finger which they use to tap tree barks and find grubs and insects. As it taps, it listens to echoes from hollow tree parts (percussive foraging).
- It is omnivorous, feeding on insects, fruits, seeds and fungi.
- It is a mammal whose lifespan is 20 years.
- It weighs 4pounds and grows to a length of 17inches from head to body.
- Its tail is bushy and larger than its body, measuring up to 24inchs. They use their tail to balance as they move about.
- It lives on trees and hardly comes down to the ground.
- They use leaves and tree branches to build ball-like nests on trees.
- Their females are only receptive to mating every two to three years due to their prolonged nursing period. They also bear a single young one.
- A strong sense of smell and sight helps protect the animal from danger.
The existence of aye aye is threatened due to poaching. The residents of Madagascar kill the aye aye on sight as they consider it a bad omen animal. For this reason, it is one of the protected animal species with successful breeding efforts on-going in islands near Madagascar.