The Aye Aye

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It is one of the most unusual creatures on Earth at least by appearance seeming unreal. This small rodent like creature is the world’s largest nocturnal primates. It also uses a rather unconventional method for finding food. The Aye-aye will tap trees searching for grubs; afterward it will gnaw holes in wood—using its long middle finder to grab grubs. This method is known as percussive foraging.

By comparison, the only other animal species known to find its food like this is the Striped Possum. The Aye-aye will usually eat nuts, grubs, fruits, nectar, seeds, and fungi as well. If the Aye-aye is unlucky finding any food where it lives, often it will steal coconuts, sugar cane, mangoes, lychees and even eggs from villagers on their plantations.

Being such a superstitious presence, it was believed that the Aye-aye has the ability to cast curses upon people using its elongated middle finger. The location where these creatures are found is in Madagascar. It is rather unlikely to ever find an Aye-aye, since they are one of the rarest animals in this region.

Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) on a palm frond, Masoala Peninsula, Madagascar, Africa

They have become an endangered species from being killed on sight. They are believed to be harbingers of evil. The Bristol zoo breeding program has been setup to help establish them once again into our world.

Where the Aye-aye originally got its name has since been lost, as the language used is now gone. Several Aye-ayes are kept in zoo programs including a successful breeding program now with 22 known Aye-ayes living at Duke Lemur Center located at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

With so much superstition, the ancient Malagasy legends stated that these Aye-ayes are nothing but symbols of death. In some areas they are viewed as a good omen however these are only a minority.

If an Aye-aye pointed its long middle finger at you, it was believed you were cursed to die. The Sakalava people went further claiming that the Aye-aye would sneak into homes and murder those sleeping by using their middle finger to puncture their aorta. Perhaps eventually these rare and exotic animals will one day return to their natural habitat.


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