Madagascar's Misunderstood The Confusion Behind One Fascinating Creature

Madagascar is one of the greatest wonders of the world, full of extraordinary plants and animals not found anywhere else. One in particular, is seen as odd-looking or scary- or dare we say it, ugly...

The Aye aye

A nocturnal lemur that is notable mostly for their bizarre appearance. But in reality, they are so much more. Their mere existence, is in fact, quite an incredible phenomenon. So to clear things up... we've compiled a list of what led to these unfortunate misunderstandings.

Their elongated middle finger allows them to fish for grubs in hollow trees and bamboo

1. Listed on the Top 10 Ugliest Animals in the World

So they might not be the most photogenic primate in the world- and their unusual features might, at first be a little off-putting. Andrew Smith quoted "People fear what they don’t understand…" and in this case, we believe that to be true. In fact, these "scary" features keep them alive in the wild. Their solitary life style, rodent like teeth and that long skeletal middle finger are all adaptations that have enabled them to survive in Madagascar's harshly competitive landscape. So instead seeing the ugly, let's embrace and protect these gentle primates.

"People fear what they don’t understand" -Andrew Smith

2. Classified Confusion

Scientist got it wrong from the very beginning. In 1788, When the Aye aye was discovered they were classified as Rodents. Their physical traits confused researchers so much that it wasn't until the 1850's when they were finally accepted as primates.

Boozy hiding up in her nest in Kianjavato

3. Hard to Find

One of the most difficult lemurs to see in the wild- a "hidden-gem" or a "rare-find" to us. And deep in the forests of Madagascar- more than likely, you will not find them. Why? They live a strictly nocturnal and solitary lifestyle (that of which has enabled them to survive) sleeping in the day and foraging for grubs at night.

An Aye aye named Cobalt

4. The Rumors

The Malagasy Taboo 'Fady' regard the Aye aye as an evil omen that causes sickness or even death. Conversely- some believe them to be an embodiment of their ancestral spirits. This fictional myth unfortunately still exists in many cultures.

Sadly, these misunderstandings have made it quite difficult for them to fit in to what society believes to be "normal".

That being different classifies you as "bizarre or strange". But we believe strange is beautiful.

Dr. Edward E. Louis Jr. Director of the MBP

So join us in Protecting these Endangered Primates

This is dedicated to one of the biggest supporters of our Aye aye research, Court Whelan and all the wonderful people from the Natural Habitat Adventures. Thank you for being our voice, our advocates and most of all our hope, in protecting these fascinating primates.

Created By
Brittani Robertson


©️Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership

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