Wild Fact #944 – Other Uses for the Middle Finger – Aye Aye

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It is the beginning of another fun filled week and I hope everyone had a chance to get outdoors and enjoy their weekend. The thought of having to get up really early this morning gave me the motivation I needed to write about an animal that uses it’s middle finger. No, the aye aye does not use its middle finger the same way I would but nonetheless it is very important for their survival.

First of all, an aye aye is a type of lemur that only lives in Madagascar. It is an odd looking animal that had scientists perplexed for some time.  They were not sure how to classify this animal since it has the traits of a variety of animals.  For example, this lemur’s teeth continously grow like that of a rodent, it has the face of a weasel and the ears of a bat.  How would you classify this animal? Well, they decided to make up a new family for this lemur due to it’s unique characteristics.  Oh I forgot to mention that the aye aye also has a trait similar to that of a woodpecker.  Nope, it doesn’t have a long beak but it does have a very long middle finger that serves the same purpose as the woodpecker’s beak.  The middle finger of the aye aye can be up to three times longer than their other fingers. They will knock on the trees with this bizarre finger to locate wood boring larvae scurrying beneath the tree bark.  Once they find some yummy grubs they use their specialized finger to dig them out.  As well, they are able to use this digit to scoop out coconuts and other fruit because who wouldn’t want some nice fruit after a large meal of grubs! Not only did you learn about the aye aye today but you found another use for your middle finger.  Who would have thought that the middle finger could be used for something else other than communication during rush hour?

Like a lot of the animals I have been talking about lately, the aye aye is endangered.  Habitat destruction and poaching are the main reason for their decline.  Why are humans poaching these weird looking animals?  Good question! There is a belief in Madagascar that the aye aye is a magical creature whose presence  will bring death to the community. For this reason, anytime an aye aye is spotted it will be killed immediately.  These deaths coupled with the loss of habitat spells trouble for our long fingered friend.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post.  Have a great day!

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