IUCN Red List status:


For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredlist.org

Animal vulnerability index Animal vulnerability index

Aye-ayes are OMNIVORES and eat grubs, fruit, nuts and nectar. They have stunning yellowish-orange eyes and distinctive hands which have claw-like nails on elongated, thin fingers.

These unusual looking animals are so odd, that they were classified incorrectly as rodents before their status as primates was proven! They have thick coats ranging from slate grey to brown with faces paler than their body and the biggest ears relative to the size of their head compared to any other primate. They can even rotate their ears independently! They are the only lemur and one of only a few primates to have true claws rather than nails on all their digits.

Aye-ayes are well adapted for life in the trees of the Madagascan rainforest and build nests high up in the branches to sleep in but also spend time on the ground. They are solitary animals and their elusive nature makes it difficult for population estimates, although they are believed to be in decline.

Aye-ayes have no fixed breeding season and the female gives birth to a single offspring after a 160-170 day gestation period. They are believed to have birth intervals of up to three years.



An aye-aye's average life span is 20 years
It is believed there as few as 1,000 - 10,000 aye-ayes left in the wild
They are the world's largest nocturnal primate measuring 74-90cm head to tail

Aye-ayes are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of
Nature (IUCN) and experts believe there may be as few as 1,000 to 10,000 left in the wild.

Found on the African island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, ayes-ayes are under threat because of deforestation destroying their natural habitat, poaching and persecution from farmers who take umbrage with their night raids on sweet crops like coconuts and sugarcane. Some local Malagasy communities also believe them to bring bad luck and, a result, they are often killed.

In January 2016, a team of 12 from the zoo, travelled to the Mangabe forest in Madagascar to carry out on a range of conservation activities including habitat restoration, engagement with local community groups and running camera trap studies. The study in this area of forest is helping towards the creation of a conservation action plan for a host of threatened species that are only found on the island.

Find out more about our work in Madagascar

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