Thursday, November 26, 2009
Animal Profile: Sunda Slow Loris
The sunda slow loris is a nocturnal, tree dwelling primate found in the tropical rainforests of South East Asia from Java and Borneo up to Peninsula Malaysia and Thailand. Feeding on fruits, young leaves and tree sap, the slow loris creeps about the canopy in an almost comically slow and calculated manner.
The loris is an omnivore and will eat insects, lizards, molluscs and even small birds. It is the only mammal known to have a venemous bite; they produce a toxin from glands inside their elbows which is then licked up and mixed with saliva to be used as a defense against predators. A slow loris bite will cause painful swellings and in some cases the toxin can cause death due to anaphylaxis. The loris is also capable of curling into a ball if it's bite does not deter a predator. However the animal is not known to be vicious; in fact the local name for a loris in Malaysia and Indonesia is Malu Malu, meaning 'Shy One'.
Sadly, this wonderfully unique creature is threatened with global extinction. Apart from loss of habitat, another main threat to the survival of this animal is hunting for its large eyes which are prized in traditional medicine.
Posted by Matt Carter at 10:45 AM