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Slow loris

Slow lorises

Nycticebus sp. ?
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Lorisidae
Subfamily: Lorinae
Genus: Nycticebus
E. Geoffroy, 1812
Type species
Tardigradus coucang
Boddaert, 1785

Nycticebus coucang
Nycticebus bengalensis
Nycticebus pygmaeus

The slow lorises are three species of loris and are classified as the genus Nycticebus. These slow moving strepsirrhine primates range from Borneo and the southern Philippines in Southeast Asia, through Bangladesh, Vietnam, Southern China (Yunnan area) and Thailand.

Adult slow lorises range in size from 21 to 38 cm, depending on the species, and weigh up to 2 kilograms. The tail is a mere stump. The short, thick fur can have a variety of color, mostly grey-reddish and often with whitish undertones. They have well developed thumbs, which they use to grasp and hold fast to branches, and a very flexible back. The eyes are large and point forward, and the ears are small and nearly hidden in the fur. They are generally more strongly built than the slender lorises.

Like all lorises, slow lorises are nocturnal and arboreal animals that prefer the tops of the trees. Also, they have slow, deliberate movements and a powerful grasp that makes them very difficult to remove from branches. They live as solitaries or in small family groups, and mark their territory with urine.

Slow lorises can produce a toxin which they mix with their saliva and use as protection against enemies. Mothers will lick this toxin onto their offspring before leaving them to search for food. The toxin is produced by glands on the insides of their elbows. The lorises lick or suck it into their mouths and deliver it when they bite. The toxin is not known to be fatal to man, but causes a painful swelling.

Slow lorises are opportunistic carnivores, typically eating insects, bird eggs and small vertebrates. With their slow quiet movements, they creep to their prey, in order to catch it with a lightning-quick snatch. They also eat fruits, but rarely.

After an approximately 190-day gestation, the female births one (or rarely two) young. The newborn clasps itself to the belly of the mother or the father. When it is older it will be "parked" on a branch while its parent searches for food. After approximately nine months it is weaned. The life expectancy of the slow loris is up to 14 years.


  • Genus Nycticebus
    • Sunda Loris, Nycticebus coucang
    • Bengal Slow Loris, Nycticebus bengalensis
    • Pygmy Slow Loris, Nycticebus pygmaeus


  • Groves, Colin (16 November 2005). in Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds): Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 122-123. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Slow_loris". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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