Slow Loris: The World’s Only Poisonous Primate

slow lorisPhoto: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

This grey-colored, giant-eyed creature may appear amazingly cute at first glance but you should beware. In fact it is the world’s only poisonous primate so far discovered. Yes, it’s a cuddly gremlin with an unpredictable, aggressive temperament which may bite you with its sharp and fang-like canine teeth.

Meet the Slow Loris

The Slow Loris is nocturnal primate, of the subgroup Prosimians, suborder Strepsirrhini, and is found across a belt of countries around Indonesia and in the Malayan rainforests. A cute little creature, 10-15 inch long, it has a round head with comparatively large eyes, very thin legs and dense brown furry skin. They have little or no tail and the Slow Loris’s spine has an extra vertebrate. There are five different species of Loris – Sunda Slow Loris, Bengal Slow Loris, Pygmy Slow Loris, Javan Slow Loris and Bornean Slow Loris. This omnivorous animal feeds mostly on insects, gums and nectar.

slow lorisPhoto: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

Why the unusual name Slow Loris?

Lorises are very slow moving primate that spends most of the day time sleeping. They do not leap through trees, but instead they move very slowly. They have special blood vessels (a special network of capillaries) in their hands with the help of which they can cling to branches for hours. That doesn’t mean that they can’t move quickly. They can, but only do so when disturbed or threatened. They can also eat while hanging upside down.

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