Orangutans are disappearing like wildfire.

  • Orangutans are a genus of large primates, of which there are two extant species, and they are endemic to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • ‘Orangutans’ are also known as ‘orangutangs’, ‘orang-utans’ and ‘orang-utangs’; while the two species of the animal are commonly known as ‘Bornean’ and ‘Sumatran’.
  • The scientific name of an orangutan is Pongo – Pongo abelii (Sumatran) and Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean), and it is from the family Hominidae, the family of great apes.
  • Orangutans generally grow to be 1 to 1.8 metres (3.3 to 5.9 feet) in height and they weigh 30 to 90 kilograms (66 to 198 pounds).
  • Orangutans are quite hairy and are an orange-red colour with a brown-black face; and their long arms can span up to 2 metres (6.6 feet).
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An Orangutan
Image courtesy of Dupan Pandu/Flickr
  • The diet of orangutans consists primarily of fruit, although insects, eggs, new shoots, bark, and leaves are also eaten.
  • Orangutans seldom set foot on ground, rather they travel in the treetops, mostly alone, and make and sleep in nests there; spending more time in trees than any other great ape.
  • Orangutans have been observed using tools, solving problems, and comprehending symbols for communication purposes with humans.
  • Both orangutan species are critically endangered, due to severe deforestation, illegal trade, hunting, forest fires, and habitat fragmentation.
  • Orangutans produce loud howls that are audible up to a distance of 2 kilometres (1.2 miles); and they can have a lifespan between 30 to 5o years or more.
Orang-utans, 2016, World Wildlife Fund, http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/great_apes/orangutans/
Orangutan, 2016, National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/mammals/orangutan/
Orangutan, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orangutan



What does the aye-aye remind you of?

  • Aye-ayes are a species of primate, the largest extant nocturnal one on earth, and they are endemic to rainforests and other forest areas on the island of Madagascar, off the coast of Africa.
  • The scientific name of the aye-aye is Daubentonia madagascariensis and it is a type of lemur from the family Daubentoniidae, of which it is the only living member.
  • Aye-ayes grow to be 36 to 44 centimetres (14 to 17 inches) in height, with a tail of even greater length, and they weigh from 2 to 2.7 kilograms (4.4 to 6 pounds).
  • The long fingers of aye-ayes are quite fragile and cannot hold much weight, with the third finger being particularly thin and used specifically for feeding purposes.
  • The diet of an aye-aye consists primarily of fruit and grubs, the latter retrieved by tapping trees to find a cavity, then gnawing into the tree with its teeth and collecting prey using its third finger.
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An Aye-Aye
Image courtesy of Frank Vassen/Flickr
  • The colour of the hair of an aye-aye ranges from brown to black, with a partially white to grey head and orange or yellow eyes.
  • Aye-ayes seldom descend to the forest floor, rather resting and foraging among the treetops; and they typically sleep in covered nests during the day, made from leaves and tree branches, though they will generally move to a different nest each day.
  • Aye-ayes are listed as an endangered species, threatened by deforestation as well as locals killing the animal, as they believe the primate can cause misfortune.
  • Sounds produced by aye-ayes include eerie screeches, hisses and the noise ‘hai-hai’; and it is thought that the mammal is named for the latter sound.
  • The aye-aye has been – and still is- compared to a rodent primarily due to its teeth, and it was mistakenly classified as one for a significant time after its discovery.
Aye-Aye, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/aye-aye-/
Aye-Aye, 2016, National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/mammals/aye-aye/
Aye-Aye, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aye-aye
Boucher, E, Daubentonia Madagascariensis, 2007, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Daubentonia_madagascariensis/


Tufted Deer

Tufted deer are masters at fleeing with a hair to spare.

  • Tufted deer are a species of small mammal, native to the mountainous forests of southern to central parts of China in Asia, and they are also thought to exist in northern parts of Myanmar.
  • The scientific name of the tufted deer is Elaphodus cephalophus and it is from the family Cervidae, the family of deer.
  • Tufted deer grow to be 50 to 70 centimetres (1.6 to 2.3 feet) in height to the shoulder, and weigh 17 to 50 kilograms (37 to 110 pounds).
  • The rough hair coat of a tufted deer is mainly dark brown to dark grey in colour; with white on the underside, on part of the ears and mouth; and the deer has a tuft of hair on the front of its head, that hides the short antlers that a male has.
  • Male tufted deer have a pair of long, protruding, tusk-like teeth, reaching up to a length of 2.6 centimetres (1 inch), that they use to defend their territory.
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Tufted Deer
Image courtesy of Heather Paul/Flickr
  • Female tufted deer produce one to two young each year, which are expected to reach an age of around 10 to 12 years in the wild; and the deer tend to live alone, or in pairs.
  • Tufted deer tend to be shy, and avoid being seen by camouflaging themselves in their natural surroundings or hiding among the foliage, however they bark when disturbed.
  • The diet of tufted deer consists primarily of grass, twigs, fruit and leaves; while their predators are primarily dholes, leopards and humans.
  • Tufted deer are listed as near threatened, with consideration to relist the deer as vulnerable, due to over-hunting and habitat loss, that is causing significant population decline.
  • To escape from predators, tufted deer point the white underside of their tail upwards, and then move it back down to display the brown side, and as such, create confusion.
Harris R & Jiang Z, Elaphodus cephalophus, 2015, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/7112/0
Lundrigan B & Oas R, Elaphodus cephalophus, 2003, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Elaphodus_cephalophus/
Tufted Deer, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tufted_deer


Pygmy Marmoset

Big things come in small packages, just like the pygmy marmoset.

  • Pygmy marmosets are a species of small primate, endemic to the Amazon rainforest of northern South America.
  • The scientific name of pygmy marmosets is Cebuella pygmaea, or the synonymous Callithrix pygmaea, and it is from the family Callitrichidae, a family of New World monkeys.
  • At a height of roughly 12 to 16 centimetres (4.7 to 6.3 inches), and a weight of 85 to 140 grams (3 to 4.9 ounces), pygmy marmosets are among the smallest primates, and are the smallest living monkeys.
  • A pygmy marmoset has fur patterned with a variety of colours, including browns, greys, whites, blacks and golds, and the tail is striped with dark coloured rings.
  • The diet of pygmy marmosets consists primarily of tree sap or other resins, although they may also eat insects, fruit, spiders, nectar, flowers and lizards.
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Pygmy Marmoset
Image courtesy of Karra Rothery/Flickr
  • Pygmy marmosets have long tails of approximately 20 centimetres (7.9 inches) in length; and they live in trees and are excellent climbers, however they will rarely climb higher than 18 metres (59 feet) from the base of a tree.
  • To collect sap from trees, pygmy marmosets gnaw small holes into the tree trunks, and they may create as many as 1300 holes in a single tree.
  • Pygmy marmosets have high pitched calls comparable to that of bird calls, with some sounds being of a pitch too high for human ears to hear.
  • While pygmy marmosets are listed as ‘least concern’, they are sometimes kept as exotic pets, however, the monkeys often perish from depression, or show considerable spite towards their owner.
  • Pygmy marmosets generally have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years in the wild, and they live in family groups of two to nine individuals, and these groups are well-bonded.
Pygmy Marmoset, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/pygmy-marmoset/
Pygmy Marmoset, 2016, San Diego Zoo, http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/pygmy-marmoset
Pygmy Marmoset, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_marmoset
Wade E, Callithrix pygmaea, 2012, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Callithrix_pygmaea/


Spectacled Bear

Spectacled bears are a spectacular species of bear.

  • Spectacled bears are a species of medium-sized bear, native to north-western South America, and they are the only extant bear of the continent.
  • ‘Spectacled bears’ are also known as ‘Andean short-faced bears’ and ‘Andean bears’; and their common name refers to the spectacle like fur patterns that often occur around their eyes.
  • The scientific name of the spectacled bear is Tremarctos ornatus and it is from the family Ursidae, the family of bears.
  • Spectacled bears generally grow to be 1.3 to 2 metres (4.3 to 6.6 feet) in length and 60 to 200 kilograms (132 to 441 pounds) in weight.
  • The hair of spectacled bears is mostly a black colour, although sometimes it can tend towards brown; with white to beige facial, and sometimes chest, patterns, that vary among the individual bears.
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Spectacled Bear
Image courtesy of Nathan Bittinger/Flickr
  • The diet of spectacled bears consists of a variety of vegetation including various leaf types and bark, as well as bromeliads, bamboo, fruit, and honey, and the occasional bird, insect or small mammal.
  • Spectacled bears generally reside in trees, and as such are skillful climbers; and they often create platforms in the trees to rest on and forage from.
  • Spectacled bears are listed as vulnerable due to significant habitat loss, as well as poaching, and some bears are killed simply because they interfere with human activities.
  • A female spectacled bear may give birth to one to four cubs in a season, which become independent within a year, and they are cared for by their mother until that time.
  • Spectacled bears have an average lifespan of 20 years in their natural habitat, however individuals in captivity can survive until almost 37 years of age.
Fenner K, Tremarctos ornatus, 2012, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Tremarctos_ornatus/
Spectacled Bear, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/spectacled-bear/
Spectacled Bear, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectacled_bear


Red-Handed Tamarin

When working hard, you might get as red-handed as the red-handed tamarin.

  • Red-handed tamarins are a species of small primate native to countries of northeast South America, including Guyana, Suriname, Brazil and French Guiana.
  • ‘Red-handed tamarins’ are also known as ‘Midas tamarins’ and ‘golden-handed tamarins’.
  • The scientific name of red-handed tamarins is Saguinus midas and it is from the family Callitrichidae, a family of New World monkeys.
  • Red-handed tamarins grow to be 20.5 to 28 centimetres (8 to 11 inches) in height, excluding the tail, and they generally weigh between 400 to 550 grams (14 to 19.4 ounces).
  • The hair colour of red-haired tamarins is black, except for the hands and feet, which are coloured yellow to red.
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Red-handed Tamarin
Image courtesy of Mathius Appel/Flickr
  • Red-handed tamarins live in troops of 2 to 16 individuals, typically cooperating as they forage and to raise young.
  • The diet of red-handed tamarins consists primarily of insects, fruit, spiders, sap, eggs, small animals and leaves.
  • Red-handed tamarins have sharp teeth and claws, and they use these when threatened or to protect their territory.
  • Female red-handed tamarins usually give birth to one to three young each year, though it is typically two at a time, and their lifespan is up to 10 years or more in the wild, and up to 21 years in captivity.
  • Red-handed tamarins can jump from heights of at least 20 metres (66 feet) from a tree, to a solid surface without sustaining injuries.
Cloyd E, Saguinus midas, 2000, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Saguinus_midas/
Red-handed Tamarin, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-handed_tamarin
Red-handed Tamarin, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/red-handed-tamarin/


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