The aye-aye has a unique way of hunting: It uses its oddly long finger to tap on trees. It then employs its bat-like superhearing to locate wood-boring grubs by listening to the echoes of its own tapping.
An aye-aye can tap as fast as 11 times per second – faster than the world’s most proficient piano players. Once the prey is detected, the aye-aye gnaws a hole in the wood with its sharp incisors and digs into the hollow tunnel with its elongated finger. Hooking the grub with its claw, the aye-aye fishes it out of the tree. Voila, dinner is served.
Unlike our fingers that only go up or down, the digits of the aye-aye can swivel, like our shoulders do. They can easily extract larvae out of wood, or scoop the flesh out of coconuts and other fruits.
The middle finger of the aye-aye is also of great help when it comes to drinking. The digit moves water to the beast’s mouth at an incredible speed of 3 strokes per second.
Ecologically, the aye-aye does the same job as the woodpecker. They both help control insect populations within their own ecosystems. Though the aye-aye might look a bit scarier.
Among other things, this lemur is the largest nocturnal primate on the planet. It moves, eats and breeds only when the Sun goes down. Imagine stumbling upon this little nightmarish beast at night. No wonder it has a bad rap among locals.
On the island of Madagascar, people believe that aye-ayes are bad luck, and if they point their long middle finger at you, you’ll die. The only way to stop the curse is to kill the poor animal. And, having long been hunted down for pointing at the wrong guy, aye-ayes are now endangered. The deforestation of Madagascar doesn’t help their lives, either.
- “Aye-Aye | National Geographic“. 2011. nationalgeographic.com. Accessed November 27 2018.
- “Absurd Creature Of The Week: Aye-Aye Gives World The Highly Elongated Finger”. Simon, Matt, 2018. WIRED. Accessed November 27 2018.
- “Monkey Planet – Aye Aye – BBC One”. 2018. BBC. Accessed November 27 2018.