Slow Loris

Species: Nycticebus coucang

Physical Description: The Slow Loris shows little sexual dimorphism, therefore the heights of both males and females range between 265-380 mm, and their weights range from 375-20W g, with the average weight being 1.2 kg. The coloration of their shom thick, wooly coat varies from a brownish gray to a deep reddish brown, and they usually exhibit a dark midline along the neck and back with a light streak between their dark orbitals. Large eyes that aid their nocturnal lifestyle, a rhinarium (moist snout), a hair covered face, and a 5 cm long vestigial tail are among their other features. They also have a tooth comb and a tongue comb, as well as a toilet claw on their second toe for grooming purposes. (Only their first toe is truly opposable to the other digits.) Longevity: 10-14 years. Locomotion: The Slow Loris has lost the ability to leap. Its main means of movement is walking hand over hand along branches, in which it alternately places one hand forward and then brings the foot of the same side forward. It then extends the other hand and brings the other foot to that hand. It tends to climb slowly and deliberately.

Geographic Location: SE Asia, China, India and Indonesia. (From Vietnam to Borneo.)

Ecology: The Slow Loris, an arboreal creature, only inhabits the thickest of vegetation. It is primarily found in tropical evergreen forests, primary or secondary forests, or in groves of bamboo. It often shares its habitat with monkeys, but due to its nocturnal lifestyle, it does not have to compete ecologically with the monkey. The Slow Lorises' secretive and nocturnal lifestyle, makes them difficult to observe, therefore accurate population densities are difficult to obtain. Although it has been noted that large suitable habitats have zero population, while other small areas (of 50 to 100 sq. km) would be inhabited with large populations. While home and day ranges were not found in multiple sources, they would presumably be quite limited due to its nature of slow movement, and lack of leaping abilities. If it is confronted with a predator (such as a snake) they let themselves fall to the Earth, a rather effective means of escape in thick vegetation. When threatened it may also exude a strong smelling substance that can be toxic if combined with their saliva. This scent warns the predator of their foul taste. Finally in the event of in attack it buries its head in its hands and presents its shield (hump-like protuberances formed by the vertebrae that are covered by thickened skin,) it then sways from side to side as the attacker charges. The entire time it holds on to the branch with the tight grip of its feet.

Diet: The Slow Lorises' diet consists of large mollusks, insects, lizards, birds, small mammals, eggs, gum and fruits. They also possess the ability to digest irritant caterpillars and butterflies, foul smelling beetles and poisonous millipedes. [Of Pottos and Lorises smaller species feed more on prey (70-80%) and larger species feed more on fruits and gums (70-80%.)] The Slow Loris locates its prey primarily by smell. It then strikes with amazing speed by gripping a branch with both hind feet, standing erect and then throwing its body forward to seize its prey with both hands.

Social Organization: While the exact social system is not known, both the possibility of a solitary or polygynous way of life were noted. Assuming they have a solitary system (solitary was more often cited) a group would contain one female and her offspring (I or 2 babies.) A male would also be part of this group, but the male could be pan of a different female's group as well. The Slow Loris urine washes and marks its territory by urinating on its hands and then walking along, or by dragging its genitals along. Males appear strongly territorial and will not tolerate the presence of another adult male. Slow Lorises are believed to be polygamous with male territories often overlapping those of several females, they thus have a male dominant hierarchy. they all forage alone.

Intelligence: They are not the brightest of primates, and lack much of the problem solving capabilities exhibited by most other primates.

Reproduction: Birth Season: when vegetation is at a maximum level. Male/Female Age of Sexual Maturity: Approx. 18 mos. Gestation Length: 193 days. Estrous Cycle: consists of 37-54 days, and are receptive 5-6 days. At this time female produces high pitch whistle. Litter Size: usually single, occasionally twins. Interbirth Interval: 12-18 mos. Infant Birth Weight: 45 g.

Parental Care: Infants are carried by their mother and perhaps also by their father. They may be left clinging to a branch for short periods of time. They are carried until they are approximately the same size as the female, and begin weaning at nine months, although they can cat solid food as soon as ten days after birth. Although multiple sources did not state how long the young stay with their mother or continue contact, presuming a solitary lifestyle they would most likely leave when they have reached sexual maturity. Special Interests: The Slow Loris is one of only two species of mammals that is poisonous.

Web Sites:

http:/www.duke.edu/web/primate/slowlor.html

http://www.speakeasy.org/~arboreal/lorisland/scott.html

http://www.species.net/Primates/Loris/LorCind.html

http://artsci.wustl.edu/~kabiela/whatis.html

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