ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Aye-Aye Lemur

Updated on February 25, 2016

Scientific Name: Daubentonia madagascariensis

Photo taken by Frank Vassen
Photo taken by Frank Vassen


The Aye-Aye Lemur is very interesting. They have a look that is different from others so they often are overlooked in the world of primates. They are even considered to be evil in Roman Mythology. Many of the villagers today still view them as bringing evil so they try to destroy them. They are the largest of all nocturnal primates.


The long middle finger of the Aye-Aye Lemur is something that is very unique for any primate. They use it though to help them forage for food. They also have teeth that never stop growing. This is why they are given certain foods and items to chew on in captivity. They need a way to keep them from getting too large while they are out of their natural environment.

These Lemurs have a very thick coat. It isn’t really understood why they do though. After all they live in a region where it is very warm. They may have a dark gray or black color to them. It depends on their surroundings so that they have the best overall chances of blending in.

They have excellent vision that allows them to see in the darkness of night. They also have great smelling abilities that allow them to be able to find food and to try to avoid being eaten by predators.

Author Ancheta Wis
Author Ancheta Wis


Why does the Aye-Aye Lemur have that long middle finger when no others do? What occurred in their environment long ago that made it develop for their survival chances to increase? We don’t have the answer to why or even know when this occurred. Hopefully we can one day discover some fossil remains of this species from long ago that give us some answers.

Since the diet of these Lemurs reflects that of others, why do they have teeth that continue to grow? There must have been something in their environment that resulted in this genetic contribution as well. If you take a close look at their teeth you can also see they turn inwards. This is a mystery as well and not something you will see on any other types of primates.


When it comes to social interaction, the Aye-Aye Lemur can take it or leave it. They do seem to enjoy the company of each other. However, their family groups are very loosely bound. They do spend time living alone and forging for food on their own.

They rely on many types of vocal sounds to communicate with each other. The sounds can travel long distance too due to them spreading out. Sometimes they are looking for a mate, trying to find a place to nest, or they are trying to let others know about impending dangers around the area.

These Lemurs are usually out at night looking for food. Yet they can be seen eating during the day too. This occurs when food is plentiful so they can take advantage of it. There will be dry periods where they can’t find much food at all. They need to be able to fatten up to live off reserves during that period of time.

Aye-Aye Lemur Video

Habitat and Distribution

These Lemurs are found all over Madagascar Island. The East part of it is where most of them live. Yet you can find the Aye-Aye Lemur all over out there instead of just in that location. As their natural environment continues to be depleted they branch out to find food and shelter wherever they can.

They do like the higher altitudes and that offers them lots of leave cover in the forest. They use this location to provide them with a place for their nests to be well hidden from various forms of predators that are looking for a meal.

Author: Joseph Wolf (1820-1899)
Author: Joseph Wolf (1820-1899)

Diet and Feeding Habits

The long middle finger of the Aye-Aye Lemur allows them to get plenty of grubs for food. They will rapidly tap on the trees and find them. Then they use their teeth to consume them. They will also find fruits, nuts, and fungi to eat. They never seem to get full!

However, experts believe they consume so much when it is there to compensate for times it won’t be. They need to have plenty of fat stored up or they won’t be able to survive the difficult dry reason when there is very little food available. It isn’t unusual for these Lemurs to cover up to 2 ½ miles during feeding times.

Aye-Aye Lemur Video


Mating requires the males to go in search of the females. When the females are in estrus they will increase the scent they offer. The males can smell it from far away. However, there can be several males that fight for the ability to mate with her. They may stay together for a period of 1 to 3 days. As soon as her strong scent goes away though they will depart ways.

The males will continue to look for other females to be able to mate with. The estrus times can vary by a few days for different females so he will have time to look around and find other opportunities.

The social interactions between the Aye-Aye Lemur mother and the young is very impressive. Not only does she strive to make sure that basic needs are met but she will play with them too. She may be wrestling with them, playing peek a boo, and more to keep them entertained.


When it comes to natural predators the Aye-Aye Lemur doesn’t have too much to worry about. Since they live in the trees the threat from snakes is present. There is also the wild cat called the Fossa. In some areas they also have the concerns over the domestic dog that is very plentiful around Madagascar Island now.

All of those predators though are nothing compared to what humans have done. These Lemurs are deliberately trapped and killed by villagers when possible. They won’t eat them though as they are deemed as being evil. Such stories are centuries old in their culture. They won’t be changing their thoughts about these animals any time soon either.

The process of slash and burn in the forest areas has also contributed to them being depleted of their natural homes. Many forest areas are cleared so that the land can be used to build homes or to grow food for the villagers. The efforts by many conservation groups including helping the villagers to do more with the land they have. Hopefully this will cut down on them destroying more of it.

Other conservation efforts involve trying to put pressure on the governing bodies of Madagascar Islands. However, there is plenty of political red tape out there that takes place with it. The government has a hard time stepping on the toes of the villagers and their beliefs.

Breeding programs are also something that have been implemented in many areas. The goal is to help increase the survival rates of the young so that they reach the age of maturity. They other issue is that with habitat being destroyed the males are further from the females than before. Getting them in closer proximity can help with increasing natural breeding efforts in a captive environment.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    5 years ago

    This was so brilliant that I wrote a report on it and got an A+

  • PoliCommandments profile image


    7 years ago from DeKalb, IL

    This was a very interesting article. I learned so many facts about a species of primate that has existed, unbeknownst to me! Thanks for going above and beyond in your research.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    An absolute brilliant hub with all these informaiton. Thank you.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)