Aye-Aye Fact Sheet

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Daubentonia madagascariensis

Wild Status:







In the forest

Life Span:

20 years


3 feet (including tail), 4 pounds

Cool Facts:

In 2004, bones were discovered of a giant prehistoric aye-aye. It existed about 3,000 years ago is is believed to have been about twice the size of the modern aye-aye.   Thanks to its pronounced incisors and long, busy tail, when it was first discovered the aye-aye was believed to be a rodent and was classified as a type of squirrel.   According to Malagasy folk belief, the aye-aye is considered an omen of evil and is often killed on sight.   Aye-ayes are the only primates to hunt using echolocation.    


The aye-aye is a species of lemur found only on the island of Madagascar. They live in the rainforests on the eastern coats of the island. Highly arboreal, aye-ayes almost never come down from the trees. While classified as an omnivore, aye-ayes have some unique adaptations for hunting insect larvae hidden beneath bark. They use an elongated middle finger to tap on the wood and then listen for the echo of hidden grubs. Once a grub is located, the aye-aye uses its incisors to gnaw away the bark and then fishes out the morsel with the same middle finger. This allows them to occupy an ecological niche similar to that of a woodpecker. Unlike most primates, aye-ayes are typically solitary animals although the territories of several animals may overlap.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom - Animalia Phylum - Chordata Class - Mammalia Order - Primates Family - Daubentoniidae Genus - Daubentonia Species - D. madagascariensis

Conservation & Helping:

The aye-aye is classified as endangered as its habitat is threatened by deforestation.

For Teachers and Educators


Keep Exploring Defenders!