Pygmy Loris

Pygmy Loris
PYGMY LORIS (Nycticebus pygmaeus)
Pronounced: Nik-tys-bus pig-may-us Order: Primates
Kingdom: Animalia Family: Lorisidae
Phylum: Chordata Genus: Nycticebus
Class: Mammalia Species: Pygmaeus


Fully grown at just over a pound, this is one of the smallest primates in the world. In fact, they’re in a group called prosimians, or primitive primates, because they are neither monkeys nor apes. Native to primary and secondary forests, bamboo thickets and dense evergreen forests in Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, they are a vulnerable species due to habitat destruction and hunting.

With powerful, grasping hands and feet, pygmy lorises are excellent climbers, scaling trunks and passing from tree to tree along branches as if they were chameleons. They are insectivorous, but will eat a variety of things, from fruit, to bird eggs to geckos – as long as it’s found in a tree. Their strong legs allow them to anchor themselves to a branch and shoot out with their equally strong hands to grab prey. They rarely venture to the ground! They are nocturnal, using their excellent eyesight and noses to discover what’s lurking in the darkness.

Groups of one male and several females live together in a large territory. They whistle to communicate with one another in the dark trees. Mothers have one or two babies in winter. Babies have strong grasps, but they only cling to her belly for a few days after birth. After that they are parked on a tree branch, surrounded by foliage, and left alone while their mothers forage, clicking and squeaking if they are in danger from predators such as reticulated pythons and Sumatran orangutans. The mother returns often to feed her young, who nurse for about nine months.


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