Do You Know What an Aye-Aye Is?

The aye-aye is considered an omen of bad luck, so they are often hunted and are now an endangered species.

The aye-aye is considered an omen of bad luck, so they are often hunted and are now an endangered species.

Imagine an animal with the ability to hear bugs crawling under tree bark, and to use its long fingers and sharp teeth to dig them out. I’m not describing a fictional creature…I’m describing my favorite animal, an aye-aye! In this article, I will tell you what it is, where it lives, what it eats, and why it’s so endangered.

An aye-aye is a lemur. Like all lemurs, they live in Madagascar, an island that is part of the continent of Africa. Madagascar is the fourth biggest island in the world, full of interesting and unique animals and bugs like Madagascar hissing cockroaches, giraffe weevils, indris, fossas, chameleons, and, of course, aye-ayes.

Aye-ayes are not very large mammals. Not including their tail, they can grow from 14 to 17 inches long. Including the tail, they can grow from 22 to 24 inches long. Their average weight is 4 pounds. The aye-aye’s scientific name is Daubentonia Madagascariensis, and they are omnivores, which means they eat meat and vegetation.

Aye-ayes eat insects, nuts, and fruits. They use their extremely long middle fingers to tap on trees, and then they use their huge ears to listen for bugs scuttling under the bark. The aye-aye then picks the insect out of the bark with that same finger. When they’re eating a fruit or coconut, they dig into it with their fingers and scoop out the inside flesh.

Unfortunately, aye-ayes are considered an omen of bad luck by some people. Because of this, they are sometimes hunted or even killed on sight. Due to these terrible acts, the aye-aye population has been decreasing. Currently, about 100 live in the wild. Now the law protects them to prevent their extinction.

Here are some other interesting facts about the aye-aye: they are thought to be the only primates who use echolocation to find their prey; their average lifespan in the wild is 20 years; and their bushy tails are bigger than their bodies! They have huge eyes, giant ears, and long, slim fingers that they use to pick bugs out of trees and to scoop the flesh out of fruits. Looking at the attached photo, I think you’ll agree that they are cute, too!

Now you know that aye-ayes are innocent animals that are extremely endangered merely because of superstitious beliefs. Just like any other animal, aye-ayes deserve to live peacefully in life. Thank you for reading this article and learning about aye-ayes!