Monday, May 2, 2011

Craziest animals of the world: Aye-aye (1)

Have you ever seen this cute little animal:
Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) 2By Tom Junek ("own work") [CC-BY-SA-3.0  ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

It's called Aye-aye or, as a biologist would say, Daubentonia madagascariensis. It's living in Madagascar and belongs to the order of the Primates. "And what's so special about a freaking monkey?", I hear you say. And I say wait for it.

Let's have a closer look at those fingers:
By Tom Junek ("own work") [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

So what is that, for god's sake? Aye-ayes have 5 fingers, which are all really long , but the middle finger of both hands is extremely bony and explains the German name of the Aye-aye: "Fingertier" (finger animal). It can be used to get grubs out of small holes. To find grubs Aye-ayes tap on the surface of the tree where they sit on and listen to the echo of their taps. Isn't that an sophisticated way to find your food?

Now let's have a look at their jaw:
By Dr. Mirko Junge [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The front teeth are really long, thick and sharp, quite similar to a rodent's front teeth. And - not really surprising after all - the early taxonomists got the same idea and classified the Aye-aye as a rodent (I don't really get how trained biologists could think of this animal as a rodent, there are _no_ similarities except for the teeth). The front teeth are used to bite into the wood to get to the grubs.

Klick to see the whole process as a video.

After seeing all of this, what do you think, is the Aye-aye one of the craziest animals of the world? Stay tuned for more parts of my little series about the craziest animals of the world.

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