Tuesday, August 16, 2005

too cute for words

I can't believe I missed this. What kind of lemur am I if I don't know the minute researchers find a new species of my kind? Take a look at Microcebus lehilahytsara, a type of mouse lemur, and then tell me that's not a creature just begging to have a line of stuffed toys modeled after it. The trippy thing is that this little guy wasn't hiding out in some unexplored corner of Madagascar--they found lehilahytsara in Andasibe, one of the most touristed (I use the term very loosely) parts of the country. Although the articles don't say, I'm guessing these critters are nocturnal, based on the big eyes.

In '99, I went on a night hike through the Perinet Reserve in Andasibe to look for mouse lemurs. You don't really see the lemur, exactly. More like, you wave your flashlight around and if it reflects off two little spots, you've found one.

It's a little disappointing after a couple of day trips into the reserve, when you can actually see (and hear) some critters. Slice and I took that trip together. He was humoring me--he'd had zero interest in lemurs when I first said that I wanted to go. But our first day in Perinet, we found a troop of indri up in the trees, hooting and jumping around, and he got it. Look, he said, I'm touching a tree a lemur is in! and his eyes were alight.

Probably the best moment of the trip, really.

National Geo also has a photo of the first captive-bred aye-aye, Kintana, who was born at the Bristol Zoo in the UK last April. I know at least one of you is into aye-ayes.

Yes, for those of you have never seen one before, that's a real creature.