Nocturnal animals: The aye-aye

An aye-aye eats a cucumber. Notice its long fingers on each hand. Photo from the National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison

One interesting nocturnal animal is the aye-aye. Aye-ayes are a small kind of lemur. Aye-ayes live in trees on the island of Madagascar. They have dark brown or black fur and big, bushy tails. They also have big eyes to help them see in the dark! 

Aye-ayes have a unique way of finding food. They have one very long finger on each hand. They use the long finger to tap on tree branches and pieces of wood. The tapping helps them hear insect larvae moving inside the wood. Once they find a hidden insect larva, they scoop it out and eat it!

Aye-ayes are omnivorous. This means they eat meat (from insects) and they eat plant material. They use that long finger to scoop food out of coconuts and other fruits. 

Some people think aye-ayes are spooky. This belief has led to overhunting. The aye-ayes are also threatened by habitat destruction. Today there are laws to protect aye-ayes.

If you are ever in Madagascar, listen for a tapping noise at night. That could be an aye-aye looking for breakfast!

Featured Resource

Some people think the aye-aye is the "world's weirdest" animal. Watch this video to learn about the weird history and science of aye-ayes.

Meal worms!

Ayes-ayes aren't the only animals that eat insects. Read "Bugs for dinner?" to learn about people who eat insects too!

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