Duke Lemur Center

Three Little Lemurs Thriving at Duke Lemur Center

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Red Ruffed Lemur triplets were born May 10 to mom, Pyxis, and dad, Hunter, at the Duke Lemur Center at Duke University in North Carolina. There are two males and one female and they are all healthy and well.  Whereas last week Pyxis was still carrying them in her mouth, and on nice days might take them to a high shelf on her outdoor habitat,  they are now at the stage where they are making their first independent, albeit clumsy, forays away from their mom and the laundry basket that has served as their nest.

Hunter has been locked inside from free-ranging and is living in an adjacent area. He has been introduced to Pyxsis and their offspring. While he doesn’t interact with them much, he does appear to stand guard over them on the rare occasions when Pyxis leaves to eat. Male guarding behavior in Ruffed Lemurs is fairly common.

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Photo Credit: Duke Lemur Center


Aye-Aye Aye!

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Late last year, on November 29, The Duke Lemur Center welcomed, Elphaba, a baby Aye-aye. There have been 28 total Aye-aye births at the Lemur Center starting with the first in 1992. Elphaba weighed in at 586g just five days ago (pictured above at her exam). Little Elphaba is growing like a weed. Below are pictures of Elphaba back in late November at just three days old.

According to the Duke Lemur Center's page about Aye-aye Lemurs:

"Due to its bizarre appearance and unusual feeding habits, the Aye-aye is considered by many to be the strangest primate in the world. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. Unusual physical characteristics include incisors that are continually growing (unique among primates), extremely large ears, and a middle finger which is skeletal in appearance, and is used by the animal as a primary sensory organ."

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Photo credits: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

"Since a significant percentage of an aye-aye’s diet consists of insect larvae that dwell inside dead or living trees, the animals have evolved a specialized method for locating the larvae. As they walk along a branch, the animals continuously and rapidly tap it with their middle finger. Cupping their huge ears forward, the aye-aye listens intently to the echoing sounds coming from the tapped tree. When the sound indicates they are above an insect tunnel, the animals begin to tear off enormous chunks of the outer bark with their impressive teeth, until the insect tunnel is revealed. Then the aye-aye inserts its slender and highly flexible third finger into the hole, and when the prey is located, it is hooked with the tip of the finger and removed."