Pygmy Slow Loris

The pygmy slow loris is a prosimian primate of the loris species found in Southeast Asia. It is one of the few primate species to have a venomous bite.

Pygmy Slow Loris Scientific Classification

Animalia
Chordata
Mammalia
Primates
Lorisidae
Nycticebus
Nycticebus pygmaeus

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

Pygmy Slow Loris

Animalia
Chordata
Mammalia
Primates
Lorisidae
Nycticebus
Nycticebus pygmaeus

Pygmy Slow Loris

Pygmy Slow Loris

Physical Description

Size: They are about 7.09-8.27 inches (18-21 cm) and sexually monomorphic.

Weight: They weigh only around About 1 lb (450 gram).

Tail: The tail is 0.71 inch (1.8 cm) in length.

Pelage: Gray or white undersides; light brown to a thick brownish red fur on the rest of the body; unique black or white facial markings; dorsal stripes start at the crown continuing till the middle lower back.

Habitat

They live in rainforests, evergreen and mixed deciduous forests of Southeast Asia.

Distribution

They inhabit the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and the Chinese Yunnan province.

Behavior

  • Being nocturnal animals, they actively forage throughout the night, mostly when it is dark than a moonlit one, stopping occasionally to feed.
  • They are largely arboreal, descending to the forest floor only when threatened.
  • Pygmy slow lorises live solitarily or even move around with their family comprising of the father, mother and a generation or two of their offspring.
  • They are territorial in nature, with males having a larger territory than females, and may have more than one female within its area. However, the males would not tolerate the presence of species of the same sex within their zone.
  • They move slowly when not under threat, displaying hand-over-hand movements.
  • When sleeping their heads remain tucked under their arms, almost curled into a ball.
Pygmy Slow Loris Images

Pygmy Slow Loris Images

Mating and Reproduction

They reproduce once in every 12-18 months.

Female pygmy slow lorises go into heat or estrus during the months of July and October, getting aggressive at this time, going to the extent of lunging at the suitors who follow them.

The gestation period is around 190 days after which 1-2 offspring are birthed.

Pygmy Slow Loris Babies

Pygmy Slow Loris Babies

Pygmy Slow Loris Baby

Pygmy Slow Loris Baby

Life-cycle

The long gestation period ensures that juveniles are born with full fur and eyesight. They are nursed by their mother for around 4-5 months, though weaning may extend up to 8 months according to certain studies.

The mother ‘parks’ her babies on suitable branches when she leaves to forage. Infants become mobile soon after birth, and start to move around on the branches.

Sexual maturity is reached in females at the age of 9 months, and males in 18-20 months.

Lifespan

Their lifespan is around 20 years.

Sounds and Communication

Urine marking is a mode of communication, used extensively, preferred over vocalizations to remain cryptic and hidden from potential threats. They emit hissing and growling sounds when disturbed, while they whistle to the opposite sex during estrus. Mother-infant communication includes a soft comforting chirp on the mother’s part, followed by quick clicks and squeaks from the baby.

Diet

They are omnivorous. They prefer to eat fruits, shoots, and gums of trees as well as insects, and as such are experts at it.

Pygmy Slow Loris Pictures

Pygmy Slow Loris Pictures

Adaptations

  • During colder months, they can enter a state of torpor, surviving off the body’s fat reserves, curtailing most of their physical activities and decreasing their metabolic rate.
  • They have toothcombs, a dental formation where the canines and lower incisors form a comb-like structure, which is used for grooming and optimizing their meals.
  • They show a significant increase in their body weight during winter, managing to survive the cold months when there is a dearth of food.
  • Pygmy slow loris has modified sweat glands in their elbows which they lick when alarmed to produce a toxic concoction, followed by a fatal bite.
  • They have impressively strong grips on their hands and feet that help them stay suspended from branches for a long time.
Pygmy Slow Loris Bite

Pygmy Slow Loris Bite

Predators

Its venomous toxic bite and inconspicuous ways have provided the pygmy slow loris with adequate protection from most predators. However, reticulated pythons are believed to prey on them.

IUCN Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List has categorized the pygmy slow loris as a ‘vulnerable’ creature.

Years of hunting, as well as the continuous destruction of habitat because of the Vietnam War, have cut down the numbers of pygmy slow lorises drastically and constantly over the years. Their increasing demand as pets and in traditional medicine has also contributed to the population’s declining trend.

Pygmy Slow Loris Pet

Pygmy Slow Loris Pet

Interesting Facts

  • The name loris is said to be obtained from ‘loeres’, a Dutch word that means sluggish, or may be from “loeris”, a common term among old seafarers of Holland, meaning clown.
  • They may not justify their name well, as a primate center in North Carolina has observed the animal to be quicker in its movement than other loris species.
  • The only recorded bite to a human from a pygmy is that of an adult woman who went into an anaphylactic shock.
  • It’s one of the rare primates whose locomotion does not include jumping or leaping.

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