There's a big baby boom at the Philadelphia Zoo!
The Zoo's female aye-aye, Medusa, gave birth to a healthy baby boy on July 14th. The baby, named Smeagol after his resemblance to the Lord of the Rings character, weighed 105g at birth. Smeagol has already started venturing out of the aye-aye family's nest box to explore. Visitors can see him with Medusa and dad, Tolkein, at the Zoo's PECO Primate Reserve.
As nocturnal creatures, aye-ayes are typically most active at night. At the Zoo, however, their exhibit area is darkened during the daytime so our aye-aye group is most active during visitor hours.
Aye-ayes are rare lemurs that can be found hanging from the trees in the rainforests of Madagascar. With their beady eyes, big ears and bushy tails, aye-ayes look like very eerie animals. The Philadelphia Zoo is one of only three facilities in the United States that now has aye-ayes, a threatened species.
Aye-ayes are still hunted in Madagascar because it is feared they bring bad luck. Habitat loss due to deforestation is another factor that has contributed to the endangerment of aye-ayes.