There are so many weird and wonderful animals in the world that it might be no wonder we don’t know about every single one. However, one that’s long captured the attention of many is the endangered aye-aye. Sure, they might be a type of lemur, but they are far from the ring-tailed variety many of us know.
An aye-aye’s incisors always grow
Even though they are a primate, an aye-aye has incisors like rodents as they never stop growing. To start, they were classified as rodents. That was until researchers learned an aye-aye needs constantly growing teeth to chew through nuts and bark. This way, their teeth never wear down.
Some people believe aye-ayes are bad omens
Many Madagascar natives aren’t so keen on aye-ayes, as they believe the lemurs are bad omens. It’s said that if one of them points at someone, it means they will soon lose their lives. It’s also legend that they use their tapping fingers to steal human hearts while people sleep.
Most aye-ayes are solitary animals
While aye-ayes are known to be social at times, they mostly prefer to spend the day on their own looking for food. The groups then later come back together to shelter for protection. However, female aye-ayes are known to get pretty feisty if they see someone from outside their unit.
There’s a reason aye-ayes have big ears
The first thing most people notice when they see aye-ayes are their ears. The reason? They have to be so large, so aye-ayes can hear any grubs lurking in the undergrowth. Amazingly, they’re filled with ridges to help filter the sound, too.
There was once a giant aye-aye
Believe it or not, but there used to be a giant aye-aye. They lived across Madagascar in the last 1,000 years and weight around 25 pounds, which is as much as five times the weight of the current day aye-aye.
Aye-ayes have enormously long digits
Believe it or not, but an aye-aye’s fingers make up more than 40% of their forearm. When they walk along the ground, aye-ayes have to raise their fingers off the floor, making it look as though they’re pretty clumsy animals. Scientists recently discovered they even have a sixth finger.
Their middle finger is the tapping digit
One of the strangest things about aye-ayes is their tapping digit. Each of their middle fingers can rotate all the way around, just like our shoulders do. The reason their fingers are so long is to help draw out bugs from hidden gaps.
Aye-ayes are just like a rainforest’s woodpecker
An aye-ayes tapping finger also has another use, as they use it to tap on trees and logs before using their sensitive hearing to listen for bugs and grubs. There are no known woodpeckers in Madagascar, and aye-ayes are thought to be the only primates to use this hunting skill.
Sadly, the aye-aye is endangered, but it’s also one of the most intriguing animals on the planet. After all, it’s not every day you see a lemur with a tapping finger.