Loridae: Loris Family

The 5 species in this primate family are found in Africa, India, Southeast Asia. It includes the lorises, potto and angwantibo, which have short tails or no tails at all and are slow and deliberate in their movements.

Slender Loris

Range: Sri Lanka, S. India

Habitat: Rain forest, open woodland, swamp forest

Size: Body: 7 - 10 3/4 in (18 - 26 cm). Tail: absent or vestigial.

The slender loris spends most of its life in trees, where it moves slowly and deliberately on its long, thin limbs. It has a strong grip with its efficient grasping hands, and its thumbs and great toes are opposable. A nocturnal animal, it spends the day sleeping up in the trees, its body rolled up in a ball. Toward evening, it becomes active and hunts for insects — particularly grasshoppers - lizards, small birds and their eggs, as well as some shoots and leaves. It approaches prey stealthily, with its usual deliberate movements, and then quickly grabs it with both hands.

In India, the slender loris is known to breed twice a year, births occurring most often in May and December. Usually 1 young (but sometimes 2) is born, which makes its own way to the mother’s teats, clinging to her fur.


A thickset animal with dense fur, the potto has strong limbs and grasping feet and hands; the great toe and thumb are opposable. At the back of its neck are four horny spines, projections of the vertebrae that pierce the thin skin. The potto can quickly seize insect prey with its hands; snails, fruit and leaves are also eaten.

The female gives birth to 1 young a year, after a gestation of 6 to 6 1/2 months. Although weaned at 2 or 3 months, the young may stay with its mother for up to a year.

Distribution: Guinea to western Kenya and central Congo.

Habitat: Tropical forest.

Food: Fruit, insects and small vertebrates.

Size: 30 - 90 cm (11.75 - 35.5 in); 0.85 - 1.6 kg (1.75 - 3.5 lb).

Maturity: 18 months.

Breeding: Single young, or occasionally twins.

Life span: 25 years.

Status: Common.

Golden Potto

The golden potto, alternatively known as the more exotic-sounding Calabar angwantibo, lives among the forests of western equatorial Africa. Its distribution runs from southeastern Nigeria to southern Congo. The golden potto has strong hands and feet, adapted for grasping branches. Its first finger is a mere stump, and the second toe is much reduced. The potto and loris prefers areas of forest with dense undergrowth, where it feeds within 5 m (16.5 ft) of the ground. However, the most pristine rainforests have very little undergrowth because only small amounts of light penetrate the thick canopy of branches. For this reason, golden pottos tend to congregate around gaps in the forest where a tree has fallen, allowing enough light to flood into the gaps for shrubs to grow.

This little prosimian has long, thick, woolly fur with a golden sheen. The animal grooms its fur with a long claw on the second toe of each foot.

Pottos like lorises are solitary animals. They forage for food at night, climbing slowly through the branches. They are cautious climbers: at all times three limbs are in contact with a solid surface. Pottos eat mainly insects. They can catch flying moths and will rub the poisonous hairs off caterpillars before eating them.

Outside the breeding season, it is usually solitary. Females give birth to 1 young after a gestation of 131 to 136 days. Offspring are weaned at 4 months and fully grown at 7.

Distribution: Western Central Africa.

Habitat: Forest gaps.

Food: Insects.

Size: 23 - 30 cm (9 - 11.75 in); 260 - 460 g (9.25 - 16.25 oz).

Maturity: 18 months.

Breeding: Young born at end of rainy season.

Life span: 13 years.

Status: Lower risk.