Nov. 4, 2022



This podcast episode we talk about the Aye-Aye! Relax, unwind, and join me in the tropical forests of Madagascar, where we learn all about the world's largest nocturnal primate.


To contact Stef Wolfe you can:


If you would like to learn more, the resources used in this episode are listed below:


For exclusive content like the Extinct and Mythical Animal Mini-Series, go to the Patreon by clicking here.


Rock some awesome podcast-themed merch by clicking here.


You can also check out informative blog posts on

Get Bonus Content on Patreon

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


hello everyone welcome back to relax with the animal facts I am staff wolf and today I am going to be learning with you about our furry scaly or possibly even slimy friends and in today's case it is definitely going to be a furry friend of ours because we are covering the %HESITATION so wonderful I hi this is a very special listener episode dedicated to lead Gillian and Chileans team as well as D. thank you for suggesting such a great creature and I hope you enjoy your very own episode for the resources used in this episode along with how to request your very own animal and episode it will be covered at the end and also is available in the description or show notes down below if you love relax with animal facts and would like more of it including exclusive episodes about extinct mythological and other creatures all of that information is in the description as well now as we are beginning to tear down a little bit there are two things that I ask of you as always I want to make sure that your shoe laces are double knotted especially for where we are going today and the second thing is to do your best impression of Jello we carry a lot of tension day to day for some it will be in the head for others in the shoulders regardless of where that is we really don't need any of it where we are going and so do your best Jello impression and allow your mind to wander and journey with me into the tropical forests where the IRA resides for those of us that do not travel to the forests of sub Saharan Africa all that often just listen to the symphony that this natural orchestra is performing all night long every night it is in these same forests with this lovely accompaniment that we will find the I. D. II is a rare lemur that is native to Madagascar they bear a scientific name that might take two breaths to say Dobbin Tonia Madagascar Reince this this rare lemur is the world's largest nocturnal primate I know many of us may be able to give a list of primates but it is important for us to dive into exactly what gives a creature that distinction of primate there are a few characteristics that describe nearly all primates one is a large brain when compared with their body size another is vision being more immediately used or important than their sense of smell opposable thumbs that allow hands to grasp very easily generally fewer offspring and often only one at a time we have learned about other creatures that are not primates that can sometimes have hundreds or thousands of offspring at one time they will often have longer lifespans when compared to many other creatures and complex social groups so creatures like lemurs lorises tarsiers monkeys apes and humans are considered to be primates so it is a very diverse order of mammals that have certain subdivisions but those are some of the main ones and we heard earlier I heard that they are nocturnal well that is exactly why we are walking around here at night nocturnal describes creatures that will use the night time to hunt and move around and get about their business as opposed to creatures that are diurnal and move around mostly during the daytime so they are native to Madagascar inhabiting a wide variety of habitats but these variety of habitats will often times have some similar characteristics one important bit is that there will always be an abundance of trees so they will inhabit deciduous forests or primary and secondary rainforests sometimes mangrove forests they are considered to be arboreal creatures which means they will spend the vast majority of their time up high in trees the I. is typically described as a squirrel like primate or some sort of rodent like primate this has little to do with the fact that they are nocturnal and mostly solitary but it is because of their physical appearance that is not all that common some articles have described their appearance as bizarre or all it and with many of the creatures that we have seen so far this description is not necessarily unfair they do look very unique they have rodents like teeth that will grow throughout their life these very long bony fingers that look more school legal rather than muscular in appearance but all of these characteristics are going to play some sort of an important role in their life in medic Askar one of the distinguishing characteristics of the IRA besides it's bizarre outward appearance is that in interesting hand structure or rather unique structure it has an unusually long third digit it may be a helpful note that when I use the word digit IBM finger and naturalists biologists and other sorts of lists in the realm of science will prefer to use the term digits to describe fingers so when I say first digit I mean the found the second digit is the index finger and the third is the middle and so on as to how they will use this unusually large third digit we will find out in just a moment they are about forty centimeters or sixteen inches long this will exclude they are very bushy tailed that is about fifty five to sixty centimeters or twenty one point six to twenty three point six inches so their tail is longer than their actual body and they will be covered in a very course long black or dark brown fur it has those very large eyes those routed to teeth and a short face all of their fingers have small pointed claws which will of course play a vital role in how they maneuver into their arboreal setting arboreal as we learned describes creatures that spend the majority of their time in trees comes from the Latin word for tree witches are bore their fingers will have these claws as well as their toes except for the large opposable flax nailed great toes having any sort of a possible limit here in the digits means that they have a significantly better grip than creatures without them having opposable thumbs gives something the ability to create opposition as a muscular movement you can create opposition because most of you here I assume have opposable thumbs if you take that opposable thumb of yours and push it towards your pinky that is the muscular movement of opposition our having disability makes drinking a piping hot Cup of hot chocolate a lot more enjoyable and less stressful we can focus on the chocolatey notes of what we are drinking and knocked on the smell of our lakes being seared to medium rare so the I having this biological advantage is going to be very significant especially as a creature that prefers to maneuver around trees that require plenty of gripping and movement they're going to weigh about four pounds which is about as much as you would expect them to weigh and there is a lot going on behind the scenes with the I. let's go straight to their hunting the eye is one of two animal species that hunts for food using what is known as percussive foraging this is a method of hunting in which the animal will tap and make a hole in a tree to find prey so if the idea was to play an instrument it would probably choose the drums one only wonders whether the I would be tapping on beat or off beat or maybe even topping with some kind of a jazz swing but regardless they will tap on trees up to eight times in one second they will spend between five and forty percent of their foraging time just tapping and snowing on wood to make those holes necessary to catch their prey now how they tap is very relevant we learned earlier that they have this for real long third digit on their hands or their limbs and this very long third digit is specialized for this very function and the I. seems to have no qualms and participating in this form of musical hunting this percussive foraging lead some to conclude that this is actually a form of echolocation we have learned about echolocation in other creatures such as bats and as the name suggests it is broadly defined as a mechanism by which some animals will use sound to locate things in their environment so when the ice is tapping trees and trying to find cavities and detecting the vibrations and movements of insect larvae inside those cavities they are using the ridges that are on the insides of their years to act like some sort of audibles lands and allows them to gather a lot of information from sound and locating of course their prey so I have no scruples about saying the I. uses echolocation as a mechanism but the fact that the I is so unique with its physical characteristics it's behaviors of percussive foraging being one of two species that engages in such foraging they have alluded a proper classifications since they were first discovered adding to all of the unique characteristics that we have learned about the I. has a head shape all eyes ears and nostrils that resemble those of feline species so is it a rodent is it a feline is it a primate but we have course have arrived at the distinction of primate as being the one relevant to distinction they are not rodents and there are most certainly not felines but we can imagine that Ford the U. researchers or for the first researchers that discovered this creature how difficult it must have been to place the I. into known categories I can only imagine what it would have been like for somebody to first see this creature as a researcher and to then tell stories of it later if I was that researcher I feel that many around me would have thought I was making it up maybe when somebody asked that first researcher what it is that they saw they just shrug their shoulders and said I don't know but moving on with that same middle finger that they used to tap on trees they will also use to fish out the insect larvae under the bark they will use that same digit for things like scooping out the flesh of coconuts and other fruits that are of course a staple of the Madagascar diet after they eat and want to rest they are able to rest horizontally or vertically oftentimes they choose the route of hanging upside down entirely from branches this is a truly peculiar animal while they do spend the majority of their time in trees they will sometimes travel on the ground but in order to do so they will raise their delicate clawed digits to avoid damaging them and in this process they give to the world with one of the strangest gates or walking patterns in nature after covering some of the patterns and behaviors of the eye we can see why they would opt for a clumsy and strange gate if it means maintaining the health of their digits that third digit is responsible not only as the main method by which food is scooped from the trees but it is used as the locator of the food in the first place without these digits the eye's ability to survive would be seriously hindered and so they choose to run the catwalk of the tropical forests in Madagascar with absolute style unabashed by all of the researchers looking at them now if we were to wait out the night time and come back during the day we could find the I. R. A. in certain areas where they are curled up in a bowl like nest that is comprised of the youths and branches that they have gathered the nests will appear something like closed spheres with just one entry point and it will be situated in the forks of large trees that they spend their time in having these little homes will keep in the sunlight out as much as nature allows and provides a mature a cushy place to sleep let's talk about the communication of our allies it was unfortunate for me to learn that the I. does not communicate in Morse code and instead relegates they're tapping to strictly foraging related processes they will opt for using brief cries or sometimes screams indicative of pro testing something and will sometimes even let out whimpers that suggests some kind of a competition over resources in terms of their social structures or social hierarchy they are what is known as polygon mandruss this is a mating system that is multi male and mostly female it is quite common for many primate species to be comprised of one male and multiple females but in the case of the I. it seems that they opt for a more involved system both males and females will have multiple mates the just station periods or the length of pregnancy for the females will be about five months and most commonly will bear one offspring at a time it will stay in the nest for about two months and will continue to be weaned until they reach seven months old up until the age of two it will learn and stay with the mother until it sets out on its own and the Keating the reproductive ability to have children on their own at around three to three and a half years in females while the males at around two and a half years this I believe is the first time we have covered such a mating system in any of our primates so far just another thing that makes the I. unique there is unfortunately a lot of superstition that arises around the V. I. there are many people that are native to Madagascar or that consider the I. the creature as an omen of bad luck and it is for this reason maybe sometimes retaliatory or as some sort of preventative measure the I. I'd meets the unfortunate fate of being killed on sight by those who think that they bear some sort of bad luck and so this kind of hunting along with the degradation of their habitat or rather the removal of it have put some IRA populations at risk today they are indeed protected by law not too long ago they had actually declared the eye to be extinct but upon the discovery of a nother one this statement of X. tension was retracted and today there are somewhere in the realm of the thousands that are roaming the tropical forests of Madagascar now let us move on to the name of the I what does it mean or where does it come from well as we learned in the beginning they're considered levers and in lemurs come from the Latin word let Morris and meaning ghosts or specters it is supposed to act his name was attributed to these creatures that we now know as lemurs because of their nocturnal habits and very stealthy movements of course both things that are attributed to ghosts and spectres particularly in the ancient world the word I seems to come from a Malik Ghazi name ally there are several proposed origins for the name one states that the mount Ghazi people cried out of the I. league in fright when they were shown the animal there is one very early report that suggests it had something to do with the cry of the animal itself but of course with the modern research done now the I. never makes any sort of sound that resembles their name and then there is the third proposed origin which seems to be the most widely accepted or popular and that is that the name I is a derivation of a Malagasy word that means I don't know some people suggest that these people either did not have a name for the animal or did not wish to even speak their name because of some sort of taboo that surrounded their luck and other superstitions so while there is some contention on this topic as to disperse Victor revision of third name I also would say that the third seems to be the most likely during vacation option and now let us move on to the review portion of the show this review comes all the way from Great Britain and I did not even have to look at where this user was writing from the moment I read that this listener had their username as L. G. Yorkshire I was already in tune and Yorkshire writes this podcast really helps my seven year old drift off to sleep highly recommended thank you your culture for taking the time to leave that to review I am so happy that the show can be of help to your seven year old and maybe even to you too I suppose that anything that helps your child is something that will help you I have gotten emails from other parents who have said that the show helps them sleep but that is because their child can actually get to sleep on time with the podcast and so thank you again Yorkshire I'm very glad that you and your seven year old are a very special part of the podcast if you like the show or if you dislike the show and want to tell me why leaving a review is one of the best ways that you can both help the show grow and help it get the better I cannot think of how many positive changes I have made to this show because of really good or really critical feedback the resources that were used in this episode came from National Geographic dot com Britannica dot com animalia dot bio fact animal dot com and I E. L. C. dot live book guides dot com all of these resources are in the description and the show notes if you would like to request your very own animal and get your very own episode you can do so in three ways you can send a message to relax with animal facts on Instagram you can go to relax with animal facts dot com and click on the animal request tab and lastly you can send an email to relax with animal facts at G. mail dot com if you would like more of the podcast and want full access to plenty of exclusive episodes with new ones coming out you can visit a tree on dot com slash relax with animal facts or just go to the description where there is a patron on link what an amazing creature we learned about today with a name like I we have to assume that there was a log on to the surface for us to explore and so there was this is truly one of the more peculiar creatures we have covered on the show and I am so glad that we got the chance to coverage today I hope you will all join me on the next podcast episode with the next animal take care