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Saving The Slow Loris

Saving The Slow Loris

6th February 2012
Slow Loris

Last month, the BBC aired a documentary in it's Natural World series that aimed to bring awareness to one of the world's rarest and most unique primates, the Slow Loris. The Loris is a small nocturnal mammal that is found inhabiting the dense tropical forests in south-east Asia and on a number of Indonesian islands including Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

Until recently very little was known about the Slow Loris including it's primary behaviours and even the distances travelled by this weird animal but thanks to the work of one expert, more and more is being discovered about these small arboreal primates including the fact that there are actually more than 10 different species.

Javan Slow Loris

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Slow Loris is their large eyes which enable them to have better night-vision when they are hunting for prey in the dark, however, it is a myth about this animal being actually venomous that inspired experts to study them in detail on the Indonesian island of Java.

Although it is still unknown as to exactly why the Slow Loris has evolved like this, there is no doubt that these animals are hiding a dark secret behind their cute and cuddly appearance. After much work studying Slow Loris individuals on the island it became apparent that the Slow Loris does not have a venomous bite as such but instead secretes a substance from glands in their skin which becomes toxic when mixed with the animal's saliva.

Slow Loris, Borneo

Dubbed as nature's gremlins, the Slow Loris is becoming rarer and more vulnerable in the wild due to the capture of them to be sold into the exotic pet trade. Despite it being illegal to trade in this species, the practise still continues with traders and owners often brutally mutilating their front teeth as they fear their venomous bite. Other reasons for their decline in numbers includes habitat loss and growing levels of commercial activity in their natural environments.