The Aye-Aye in Madagascar: It Pays To Be Ugly

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  • Topic: Primate, Lemur, Strepsirrhini
  • Pages : 5 (1909 words )
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  • Published : October 26, 2011
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The Aye-aye
It Pays to be Ugly

In this paper, the writer will take on the persona of one of the strangest primates in the world – the Aye-aye. Found only in the forest of Madagascar, this unusual creature said to be closely related to chimpanzees as well as humans is a nocturnal primate under the family of lemurs (Daubentonia madagascariensis). Considered to be giants compared to other lemurs in the island of Madagascar, what makes this primate interesting to talk about is its unique yet strange physical features that in most cases throughout its life in the forest deem very helpful for its biological needs and necessities; however, ironically, as the author will try to discuss, it is these same peculiar features of the aye-aye which seem to be an issue to the local people of Madasgascar, that makes it one of the most endangered primates in captivity today. -------------------------------------------------

Taking on the point of view of a wild aye-aye in the Madagascar island, the author will aim to discuss what it is like to live like an aye-aye; in terms of its habitat, diet, social relations and the other aspects of a non-human primate in the wild.

Madagascar, considered to be the fourth largest island country in the entire world located in the vast Indian Ocean just several hundred kilometers off the coast of Africa is a country like no other when it comes to biodiversity.  An island roughly the size of Texas or France, Madagascar is home to more than 250,000 species of which 70% are found nowhere else on the globe (Wild Madagascar, 2009).  If it’s strange and uncommon creatures you seek, you’ll definitely find some here. Indeed, creatures here are very unique and rare that some are believed to be near extinction. In the mid 1900s aye-ayes like me were believed to have been wiped out until recent years there have been lots of us sighted in more places on Madagascar. So, here I am today aiming to explain a night in the life of an aye-aye. It’s only in the dead of the night that a creature like me can get to wander around the jungle just as my cousin the mouse lemur would do during the day. Only difference between us is that I prefer not to go down the forest floor and I sleep on mornings. High above the trees is where I like to stay, because everything I need such as my shelter and my stash of food is all up here above the forest canopies. Since we’re talking about shelter, I would like to describe what my pad looks like; aye-ayes unlike other primates are solitary creatures living on individual nests that are made of leaves and branches curled up into a ball large enough to fit an averaged sized me roughly about 36 inches long including my tail which is actually longer than my body. Aye-ayes like me construct their nests in a way that they appear to be closed spheres with a single entrance hole, we usually place our nests between forks of large trees or branches (National Geographic Society, 2010). Another great feature about living on top of trees is that I have easy access to food and munchies. Being classified as an omnivore, my diet consists of fruits, fungi, seeds and wood-boring larvae all of which I obtain up here in comfort of my habitat, in the canopies of the Madagascar forest. The abundance of food is really pointless if you don’t have the right tools to get them. Luckily for me, unique set of features fits well with the environment I am living in. Author Jeffrey Cohn said in his article that the best way to describe my physical features is to compare them with better-known animals. In terms of size, I am as big as your average house cat; my fur is coarse dark like that of an opossum, which helps me keep hidden in the night when I wander from tree to tree. As compared to other animals, my head may seem too big for my body; I have large ears like a bat that are highly sensitive and are used to listen to the inside of trees where wood-boring larvae are normally located. I have huge beaver-like teeth...
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