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Pygmy Slow Loris

Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
The pygmy slow loris feeds by hanging its body upside down and using both hands. It is very small, measuring about 20 cm in length and 1 pound in weight. Read on to get an insight about pygmy slow loris information.
Slow lorises are some of the intriguing primates known to us. They have exceptionally large eyes, wet nose, rounded head and a narrow snout. In the wild, slow lorises move very slowly and quietly, making them unnoticeable to their predators.
Pygmy slow loris is a small species of slow lorises, weighing about 1 pound or lesser. Being a solitary animal, it hunts and travels alone. Thus, this small slow loris is seldom seen in groups, except during the mating season.

Pygmy Slow Loris Facts and Information

Pygmy slow lorises are distributed in various parts of the tropics and subtropics. Majority of the population are found inhabiting the dry broadleaf forests of China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This rare mammal along with four other slow lorises share the taxonomic genus Nycticebus. Scientifically, pygmy slow loris is represented as N. pygmaeus.
Information pertaining to identification, size, food, mating, reproduction and lifespan of pygmy slow lorises is discussed here.
  • Pygmy slow lorises are found in shades of gray, reddish-brown and pure brown. One common feature is, presence of white lines that run between the eyes. The eyes are also surrounded by a dark color shade.
  • At the first glance, this small primate resembles more like a cuddly teddy bear. The description for pygmy slow lorises goes like this - large eyes, small ears, rounded head, short limbs and very short tail (virtually invisible).
  • As stated already, what differentiates a pygmy slow loris from other types of slow lorises is their small and compact size. An adult individual of the same species averages approximately 18 cm to 21 cm in length.
  • Pygmy slow lorises are truly arboreal in inhabitation. They are gifted with specific features, which help these small primates in grasping twigs firmly, moving amongst tree branches, and also in jumping from one branch to another.
  • Like its related cousins, this small version of pygmy loris is nocturnal. During the daytime, it sleeps by curling itself into a rounded form, with its head placed between legs. Its spreading thumb and strong musculature of legs help in gripping the tree trunks firmly.
  • It remains active in the dark, and at night this mammal comes out and hunts for food. This nocturnal behavior is another survival adaptation that reduces competition amongst arboreal animals for habitat and food.
  • While hunting its prey, the pygmy slow loris crawls quietly along the tree trunks, until it spots a prospective prey. It holds the tree tightly by its hind legs, while the front body and legs stretch forward to catch the prey.
  • As far as pygmy slow loris diet is concerned, it is omnivorous and feeds on different food items. The food options of this small size primate include a wide range of flowers, fruits, tree exudate, insects, fungi, snails, slugs and other small mammals.
  • One of the distinctive facts about slow lorises is their toxic bite. Yes, the pygmy slow loris and its related species secrete a toxic compound, which help in warding off predators. It is also imparted while grooming the fur of young ones, so as to protect them from their enemies.
  • No distinctive sexual dimorphism is seen for this slow loris species. The female pygmy slow loris attains sexual maturity at a very early stage (9 months after birth). In comparison to this, the male counterpart turns sexually mature after 17 - 20 months.
  • During the mating season, the adult female leaves urine scent marks in the trees. The male detects this smell and they communicate each other by making whistling sounds. They copulate once in every 1 - 1½ years.
  • Gestation period for this slow loris species is quite long, about 190 days. After this, the female loris will give birth to 1 - 2 offspring. The young ones remain attached to their mother's belly for several months. They feed on their mother's milk for up to 9 months.
  • It is disheartening to learn that slow pygmy loris and remaining four species of slow lorises are enlisted in the CITES Appendices. The major threats to these wonderful primates are habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade.
Regarding the conservation status of pygmy slow loris, it is listed under vulnerable species. The decline in population is mainly due to the destruction of their native habitats during the Vietnam war.
Following the war, these lorises were on the verge of extinction. Since then, control breeding and conservation programs are being taken up with an objective to save this cute looking primate from extinction. It survives for about 20 years in captivity.