Look, not all babies are cute. Unfortunately for the latest baby critter born at the Denver Zoo, Tonks the aye-aye is simply one of those less fortunate in the beauty department. Her beady little eyes are yellow. Her face is mostly bald. And, my gosh, those skeletal fingers. In some cultures in the animal’s native Madagascar, the appearance of an aye-aye is an omen of evil. It seems only right for a baby whose parents are named Bellatrix and Smeagol. But the little girl’s birth last month in Denver is a boon for biologists attempting to save one of the rarest species in the world. Only 24 of the lemurs live in seven zoos across the U.S., according to the Denver Zoo. It’s unclear how many live in the wild because the nocturnal primates that spend almost all of their lives in trees are notoriously hard to glimpse. Despite a startling appearance, aye-ayes have a number of unique characteristics. They search for grubs in trees by tapping on the wood and listening to the echo to find a cavity — the mammalian version of a woodpecker. Like a rodent, their incisors never stop growing. The lemurs spend most of their lives alone, according to the Duke Lemur Center. A cursory glance through Google images of adult aye-ayes seems to show that little Tonks will grow more beautiful in time. The hair will grow in on her face and her eyes will become more proportional. Tonks is currently in the Denver Zoo’s aye-aye exhibit, but likely won’t be visible for the next few months as she grows inside the nest box. Click here to see some pics of Tonks!
Can’t wait to see her! 🙂