We can’t have a month dedicated to Madagascar without mentioning the animal that, in my opinion, encapsulates all that is weird, wacky and wonderful about Madagascan wildlife: the aye-aye. The largest nocturnal primate in the world, the aye-aye is by far the most specialised, unusual, and evolutionary distinct offshoot of the lemur family tree. Its jumble of quirky physical features baffled taxonomists for years, and even today it is viewed by many people as an incarnation of an evil spirit.
We start our final ‘Mole Month’ article in an unusual place: looking at the world’s largest nocturnal primate, the aye-aye. This peculiar lemur almost seems to have been assembled using the body parts of various other animals: the big, leathery ears of a bat, the gnawing teeth of a beaver, the long, bushy tail of a squirrel.