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Nocturnal Primates

Unlike their diurnal counterparts who are active during the day, nocturnal primates are specially adapted to thrive in the darkness of night. These primates have unique features such as large eyes equipped with highly sensitive rods and cones, allowing them to see in low light conditions. They also possess keen senses of hearing and smell, which they rely on to navigate their nocturnal habitats and locate food sources.


Pygmy Slow Loris

Native to Southeast Asia, these small, nocturnal primates are known for their adorable appearance and unique adaptations. Pygmy Slow Lorises have large, round eyes, which help them see in low light conditions, and they possess a toxic bite, which they use for self-defense. Despite their name, Pygmy Slow Lorises are actually quite agile and can move quickly when necessary.


Pygmy slow lorises are found in Vietnam, Laos, eastern Cambodia, and neighboring regions of southern China. They live in rainforests, bamboo thickets, evergreen forests, and degraded forests.


Body length: 6-10in. Weight: 0.25-1lb+

At the Little Rock Zoo, you'll find a special breeding pair of Pygmy Slow Lorises, Fraiser and Minh Yih. We're proud to be among the select few zoos successfully breeding these elusive creatures. In November 2023, Fraiser and Minh Yih celebrated the birth of their latest twins, marking the third set of offspring for this remarkable pair.

  • Their fur acquires silver tips or “frosting” and their lighter markings become more prominent in the winter. This is thought to aid in camouflage.
  • Pygmy slow lorises produce a toxin from a modified sweat gland near their elbows. When they become upset, they will begin to lick these glands and will bite. This toxin can harm animals and humans, with an instance of a woman going into anaphylactic shock!

IUCN lists as a vulnerable species. Major threats include: deforestation such as logging, fire, and fragmentation; and poaching for traditional medicine, food and the pet trade. They are commonly used in traditional medicines “treating” anything from broken bones to STDs. These animals are also the most popular pet listed on CITES Appendix 1.

Conservation Actions:

Slow lorises are protected in Vietnam, China, and Cambodia.

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