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Aye-Aye: Daubentoniidae - Behavior And Reproduction

ayes female nest male

Aye-ayes are nocturnal, or active at night. Each spends most of the day in an individual nest hidden among thick vines that are within a high fork of a tall tree. Each round nest, about 20 inches (50 centimeters) wide, is constructed of leaves and twigs woven together. Each nest takes about twenty-four hours to build. It has a closed top, a side entrance, and a bottom layer of shredded leaves. An aye-aye may build up to twenty nests in its home range. Aye-ayes often change their daytime sleeping nest. Many different aye-ayes may individually occupy a nest over a period of time.

Each aye-aye usually lives alone, however young may stay with the mother for quite a while. Little is known about their social behavior. Female home ranges, or feeding areas, are not usually shared. Male home ranges are larger, and may overlap female home ranges. Range boundaries are marked with urine and with a special scent gland. Some scientists believe that aye-ayes may search for food in male-female or male-male pairs.

When moving upward, the aye-aye climbs with a series of rapid leaps, one after another. It also walks on four limbs on the ground, but more slowly.

A female aye-aye is ready to mate at three to four years old. Mating can occur during several months of the year. Several males fight over who will be the one to mate with a female. However, after this mating, the female may mate again with a different male. Pregnancy is about five months. Females only The aye-aye taps on tree bark to find grubs and insects burrowing within the bark of a tree. (Photograph by Harald Schütz. Reproduced by permission.) give birth every two to three years. Births can occur at any time of the year. There is only one infant each time. Babies are weaned, or stop nursing, at about seven months old.

When moving about in the trees, aye-ayes are usually quiet. But they can make many different vocalizations, or sounds. These include an "eep" call when meeting another aye-aye, a "hai-hai" alarm call when fighting over food, and a begging "bird call" given by young aye-ayes that want to feed with older animals.

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