The Aye Aye by Isabel Hughes

The Aye Aye

The Aye Aye, also known as the Daubentonia Madagascariensis is an amazing animal, but it is also one of the world’s most endangered species. The Aye Aye is part of the Daubentoniidae family and it close relatives are the lemurs. Aye Ayes are found in the rain forests of Madagascar and it usually relies on Insects, Larvae and Fruit for food. Aye Ayes usually have black fur but it is known for them to have dark brown fur.

The Aye Ayes appearance is quite unusual and they have many interesting physical adaptations. First of all, Aye Ayes as I mentioned before can either have black or brown fur. This fur is shaggy and it covers the Aye Ayes tail and body. They have a thin layer of white guard hair under the fur to help them blend in to their surroundings at night when they are most active. Their mass is around 2kg to 2.7kg (4lbs to 6lbs) and their length can be from 30cm to 40cm or 12 inches to 15 inches.

Physical adaptations help the Aye Aye survive in its habitat and without these the numbers of Aye Ayes would drop rapidly. Aye Ayes have a very long middle finger used for searching through tree trunks in search for food. The Aye Aye is known to use this extraordinary finger to eat things like eggs and coconut flesh found high up in Madagascan trees. Also, their very large teeth and bat like ears help them to find the food they eat. A fun fact about the Aye Aye is that its teeth never stop growing and they are used to gnaw on the bark of the trees where Larvae (The Aye Ayes favourite food) build their tunnels. The Aye ayes ears pick up the movement in the trunk of the tree and then its finger extracts it. Their ears are incredibly sensitive and can be rotated independently.

The Aye Ayes prefers the dense tropical and costal rainforest of Madagascar as its habitat. These canopies have a high humidity and plenty of cover is crucial. If this is not possible they are known to inhabit secondary forests, bamboo thickets, mangroves and even coconut groves along the east coasts of Madagascar. Ayes Ayes are omnivores and they love to eat things such as Insects, Larvae, Fruit, Seeds and Nectar. Unfortunately, Humans, the Fossa and Birds of prey are all predators to the Aye Ayes and in particular humans and habitat loss are their biggest threats.

Aye Ayes reproductive cycle is very important otherwise the entire Aye Aye species can die out. First of all, an Aye Ayes lifespan can be from around 10 – 23 years. Aye Ayes start their reproductive cycle when they are at the ages of 3 – 5 years old and their gestation period is 170 days.