Behavior

Aye-ayes forage primarily alone. However, when a female is in estrus, she is followed by up to six males. Foraging associations are occasionally observed in the wild between two adult males, adult and young males, and adult males and females. Male home ranges (300-530 acres; 120-215 ha) overlap greatly with one another, while female home ranges (77-100 acres; 31-41 ha) do not overlap with other female

An aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) eats sugar cane. (Photo by Connie Bransilver/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

ranges. The average nightly path length of radio-collared females is 4,270 ft (1,300 m) with a maximum of 6,000 ft (1,830 m). The average nightly path length of males is 7,380 ft (2,250 m) with a maximum of 14,400 ft (4,390 m). These are the longest path lengths recorded for any nocturnal primate, and is especially remarkable considering the steep and wet terrain. Locomotion is by four-legged walking, climbing, and jumping; aye-ayes spend 25% of time walking on the ground. The mean height during travel is 23 ft (7 m) and the mean height during feeding is 43 ft (13 m). Aye-ayes are one of the top three terrestrial lemurs (ring-tailed lemurs, greater bamboo lemurs, and aye-ayes all spend a quarter to a third of their time on the ground). Aye-ayes sleep solitarily during the day in round nests about 72 ft (22 m) high in large trees with many vines; the round nests have one entrance and are constructed of branches with many fresh leaves. None of these nests is occupied by more than one individual on the same day, although nests may be serially occupied by other individuals. For example, one male serially shared nests with four other study animals, both males and females. Aye-ayes give up to 15 different vocalizations, including a contact "eep" call, an aggressive "aack" spacing call to other aye-ayes, "plea" calls

A juvenile aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). (Photo by Will McIntyre/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

given by females in estrus, a "fishing reel" call given when animals are feeding, a "sneeze alarm" call, a "hai-hai" alarm call (a pulsed snit cry when individuals are fighting over food), and a begging "bird call" given by young aye-ayes wanting to feed with older animals. Females scentmark frequently using both urine and anogenital rubbing for 10 days before and the three days of estrus.

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