Thursday, November 14, 2013

Creature Feature #30: Avahi

To mark the first full month of an animal-a-day (but still, not yet, the end of the As), here is the first lemur.

The Avahi, or Woolly Lemur, is the smallest member of the Sifaka family. She is also the nocturnal sifaka species. There are a number of species (9) known, but probably the most amusing is the Bemeraha Woolly Lemur, who bears the scientific name of Avahi Cleesi and is named after John Cleese. This is not that avahi (it has more white on its face), but of the Eastern clan.

Avahi live in small family groups - couples with kids, basically. Youngsters are weaned after six months and independent at a year of age, but tend to stay near their family after that. Like all sifaka, they are vegetarian and eat mainly leaves, with the occasional flower or bud for added flavour. They are found in rainforests, often sharing their home with other, diurnal, lemur species and spend their days sitting high in the trees, dozing in the sun and digesting their foliage diet. At night they venture out to forage.

Like all lemur species, they are threatened by deforestation and poaching.

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