Dec 18, 2019: Aye-Aye

Aye-Aye are an unusual species of lemur.  They are nocturnal, therefore solitary. What makes them unusual though is their claw-like finger. Aye-Aye feed largely on larva inside of tree bark. Their claw-like finger allows them to dig into the tree bark and pick out their treats. They also have larger bat-like ears and bushy tails.

The Palmarium has an aye-aye sanctuary with a population of eight, a half-hour boat ride from the main resort. They’ve turned the aye-aye area into an island, to keep predators away.

The night before we went on the twilight expedition, another tourist went to see what he could see.  He had a ten-second glimpse of this spectacular lemur. It was raining, and lemurs generally dislike the rain.

This night, it wasn’t wet, but it was windy. We expected our chances to be slim.

Like whale watching operators in Victoria, the staff at the Palmarium did as much as they could to ensure the guests could see the animals they craved. They have set up viewing areas, with a clearing for the animals, and a viewing area that is separated with a low fence made out of eucalyptus poles. This ensured we wouldn’t go to close.

We made our way to the first viewing area, and heard that the staff set out coconuts as bait. The coconuts can be cut from palm trees, but they can’t be split. The aye-aye want to do the puncturing work themselves.

The animals weren’t impressed with the bait at the first spot.  After waiting for ten or so minutes, we were invited to follow the staff to another viewing area. Here we saw an aye-aye happily eating a coconut.

IMG_1603

IMG_1602

We returned to the initial viewing area after this fellow had his fill.  Then trekked back through the bush to the successful spot, when the staff discovered a mother and young aye-aye together.

IMG_1614

IMG_1627

IMG_1621