Baby Lemur Born in Denver


I interviewed Sam, the keeper of the capuchins and lemurs at the Denver Zoo.  The lemurs that she watches over include the aye-ayes, brown lemurs, red ruffed lemurs, mongoose lemurs, and red tail lemurs.  An aye aye is a type of lemur that are native to Madagascar and are critically endangered. The locals in Madagascar think that the aye-ayes are bad luck and that they look kind of scary, so people tend to hunt them when they see them.  

The aye-aye has big bright eyes, a long middle finger, wiry hair, and big pointy ears.  They aren’t the cutest of animals, but they were decently interesting to watch. They are pretty fast when they move, and they kind of run and jump around the branches.     

Sam said she spends about 8 hours in total caring for all the lemurs and capuchins combined. The aye-ayes are nocturnal and eat bugs, vegetables (especially sweet potatoes and corn), and leaf eater biscuits. There is a new baby aye-aye named Tonks, a little girl that is now 3 months old.  Her parents are Bellatrix and Smeagol, and they are ages 3 and 4. Tonks was about the size of half of an orange at birth. Human animal contact is very limited because the possibility of disease spreading is too high. When they do interact with Tonks, the humans wear masks and gloves. Only the keepers can be near her at this point.  For this reason, I got to see the dad only and not the mom or the baby Tonks.

Their exhibit needs to be a moist, wet, and warm enclosure because they naturally live in the rainforest.  They have continually growing incisor teeth. So they must constantly have things to chew on things so that their teeth do not grow too long.  The enclosure is called the Emerald Forest if you are looking for them at the zoo.

The aye-ayes are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP).  This means that there is a plan to help prevent the species from going extinct. If you want to see the aye-ayes, then I would recommend that you wait a few months before you come so that you can be sure that Tonks is on exhibit.


  1. Those names are awesome! Tonks and Bellatrix are also Harry Potter characters, for anyone who’s interested.

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