card
275

pygmy loris

OLogy Series
animal
card
275

pygmy loris

OLogy Series
animal

Vietnam is a country of amazing biodiversity, including many rare and unusual species. One fascinating example is the pygmy loris. It is found only in certain forests of Southeast Asia. This little primate spends much of its day asleep in a tree, rolled into a ball. But at night, it climbs slowly and quietly through the trees in search of insects and fruit. This expert climber can hang by its feet from a branch, leaving its hands free for holding food.

The pygmy loris has very large eyes, which help it:

frighten off predators

see at night

attract a mate

Are you right?

Correct!

The pygmy loris is nocturnal, and its large eyes help it see well in darkness. These huge, round eyes also give the pygmy loris a constantly surprised look!

The pygmy loris is at risk. One threat is the loss of its forest habitat. But another major threat is hunting. Large numbers are caught in the wild because:

they are used in traditional medicines

they are sold as pets

both of these

Are you right?

Correct!

Some lorises are sold as pets in places as far away as the United States. Scientists with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation are working with experts in Vietnam to study, catalogue, and protect these rare primates.

A mother pygmy loris carries her newborn for the first several days of its life. She carries the newborn:

on her back

on her belly

in a “pouch”

Are you right?

Correct!

A newborn pygmy loris clings to the mother's belly. After a few days, she will leave the infant on a branch while she searches for food.

Martha M. Hurley, conservation biologist

It's hard to research nocturnal animals because they only move at night and you can't observe them nearly as easily as primates that are active during the day.

One way that pygmy lorises defend themselves is by releasing a strong-smelling substance.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

They release this smelly substance, kind of like sweat, from their forearms. When it's mixed with the loris's saliva, it becomes toxic.

Scientific Name: Nycticebus pygmaeus
Size: 7-8 inches and about a pound
Habitat: forests of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, southern China
Diet: fruits, insects, small animals
Characteristics: small, nocturnal primate with large eyes and short, thick fur
Threats: habitat loss, hunting
Cool fact: Living in groups with a social structure, they sometimes sleep in groups in the trees.

Image credits: courtesy of Martha M. Hurley; Martha M. Hurley: courtesy of Martha M. Hurley.