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Rare Aye-Aye Lemur Is Ugliest and Cutest Baby All at the Same Time

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Sometimes critters are so ugly they’re cute. You’ve probably seen dogs that fall into this category: some people even hold “ugliest dog” competitions because there are those who hold a special place for these pups in their heart.

The ugly-cute phenomenon isn’t reserved for canines, though. This particular critter falls solidly into that category, too.

While the adult aye-aye looks something like a cross between a rat, an opossum and a koala, the baby version is quite a bit more show-stopping. The Denver Zoo was just recently blessed with one.

“Meet Tonks!” they wrote in a Facebook post on September 13. “This elusive, endangered aye-aye was born on August 8 to mom Bellatrix and dad Smeagol.”

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Appropriate names, given their looks!

“With only 24 residing in seven zoos in the United States and an unknown number in the wild, aye-ayes are among the rarest — and hardest to see — animals in the world. Now three of these elusive nocturnal lemurs, which many consider the strangest primates on earth, call Denver Zoo home following her birth.”

While there are those who actively oppose zoos and other groups that keep wild animals in captivity, this is one example of how zoos really are beneficial. The Denver Zoo is just one piece of the conservation puzzle.

Tonks will no doubt get excellent care from the staff. In fact, the baby primate has already needed caretakers to step in because her mom wasn’t getting the hang of the whole “being a mom” thing.

“We noticed that Bellatrix wasn’t showing typical mothering behaviors, so we decided to step in to give Tonks some supportive care,” Becky Sturges, Lead Primate Keeper, said.

“We provided 24-hour care for the first week and had to teach Bellatrix how to nurse, but now she is nursing well and Tonks has gained a lot of weight,” she continued, according to the Denver Zoo. “Now we’re just monitoring them to make sure things continue to go well.”

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Sturges is also featured in a recent video where she talks a little more about aye-ayes and Tonks in particular.

“Lead Primate Keeper Becky shares how her team gave Tonks 24-hour supportive care during the baby aye-aye’s first week to ensure her sucess (sic),” wrote the zoo in a post.

What do you think? Is Tonks adorable or terrifying? Is this one of the strangest or cutest things you’ve ever seen?

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking