card
131

aye-aye

OLogy Series
animal
card
131

aye-aye

OLogy Series
animal

The gremlin-like, endangered aye-aye makes its home in the tropical forests of Madagascar, a large island off the coast of Africa. These nocturnal lemurs use their big ears to listen for squirming grubs (young beetles) beneath the bark of trees. Once an aye-aye hears that a tasty meal is close by, it uses its sharp teeth and long middle finger claw to dig for it. Sounds like a tasty snack!

What does the aye-aye use its very long finger for?

to tap rotten wood and pick out grubs (young beetles)

to pick the meat out of coconuts

both A and B

Are you right?

Correct!

The aye-aye's long digit (middle finger) is used to help remove the meat from coconuts and to capture grubs from inside rotten tree trunks. This finger is also used to sweep water into its mouth.

People say that the aye-aye is made of the spare parts of other animals. It has ears like a bat's, a fox-like tail, and teeth like a rodent's.

An aye-aye has never been born in captivity.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

In 1992, Blue Devil was the first aye-aye ever to be born in captivity. The small bundle of joy was born at the Duke Primate Center.

Aye-ayes are lemurs that live only on the island of Madagascar.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Some scientists believe that ancestors of the aye-aye drifted from Africa to Madagascar millions of years ago on floating vegetation.

aye-aye
Scientific name: Daubentonia madagascariensis
Size: 39 to 40 inches long
Habitat: tropical forests of Madagascar
Diet: insect larvae, sugar cane, coconuts, and other fruits
Characteristics: blackish-brown hair, large ears, and a long middle finger used to dig for food
Threats: habitat destruction and overhunting

Image credits: courtesy of Connie Bransilver, Duke University Primate Center; Eleanor Sterling: courtesy of AMNH.