LOLemur, the Movie

Good friends of The Finch & PeaCristina Russo, John Romano, and Chris Smith – collaborated to turn their visit* to the Duke Lemur Center into this video.


“LOLemur” is my name for my occasional habit of attempting to caption lemur pictures as if they were LOLcats; but imagine if LOLcats were actually cute, intelligent, and charming.

I’d also ask you to keep an eye on the Twittersphere for our efforts to guilt Ocean Spray into donating a mere 260 pounds** of the lemurs favorite treat, Craisins, to the Duke Lemur Center each year.

*Chris Smith was not visiting. He works there; but he likes what he does.

**According to the head keeper at the Duke Lemur Center, 250 lemurs combine to eat 5 pounds of Craisins each week.

Duke Lemur Center

I had a chance to join the pre-Science-Online tour of the Duke Lemur Center this year.

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lemur4The Duke Lemur Centre houses over 250 animals across more than twenty species. Most are different types of lemurs, but they also have other prosimian primates, like aye-ayes. The lemur centre was established in 1966, and grew to the largest living collection of endangered primates in the world. The center does research in a number of areas, from communication to genetics. All research is non-invasive, so the animals are not harmed in any way.

lemur5Lemurs’ natural habitat is Madagascar, which was separated from other land masses millions of years ago, allowing all kinds of unique plants and animals to evolve. Much like Australia, and for the same reasons, Madagascar became home to animals not found elsewhere on the planet. Humans only arrived on Madagascar about two thousand years ago, and since their arrival many endemic species have already gone extinct. The Duke Lemur Center is also involved in several conservation initiatives in Madagascar, but it’s most visible work is the housing and study of different lemur species.

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The North Carolina climate is not the same as Madagascar, and when we visited in February the lemurs were mostly indoors, with access to outside areas. In summer, though, the lemurs are free-roaming within a quite large area of the forest. That would have been amazing to see, so I hope I get a chance to visit the area again in summer some time.

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First, fourth, and fifth photos by Melissa V who also did the Science Online lemur tour. Second and third photos by me.

Trick or Treat: Meet the Aye-Aye

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The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is the very definition of narsty. A nocturnal solitary lemur so weird that it is not only the sole living species in its genus, but also the only member of its family. They lead a solitary existence and try to avoid mirrors, because when you’re this ugly you don’t need a reminder.

Beyond their homely looks, these guys have rodent teeth and the creepy-best middle fingers ever.

Watch this National Geographic video to see them in action:

If you want to learn more check out the Duke Lemur Center website, but do yourself a favor and plan to visit this place to see the aye-aye and other lemurs.

“Meet the…” is a collaboration between The Finch & Pea and Nature Afield to bring Nature’s amazing creatures into your home.

Meet the Sunda Flying Lemur

Photo Credit: Norman Lim, National University of Singapore
Photo Credit: Norman Lim, National University of Singapore

The Sunda Flying Lemur (Galeopterus variegatus) is not a lemur AT ALL (but still a primate). It looks like part eyes-too-far-apart squirrel and part kite. This crazy thing glides like nobody’s business from tree to tree all night long eating up fruits, leaves and flowers. The skin flap that allows the animal to glide is called a patagium and when the limbs are stretched to pull it taut this creates a parachute-style extension.

This Southeast Asian superstar, animal-kite hybrid is able to glide across the span of 100 meters while its own body length is just under 40 cm (not counting the tail)! 100 meters……just repeat it to yourself again….yeah that’s incredible. Continue reading “Meet the Sunda Flying Lemur”