Sunda Slow Loris Fact File

Nycticebus coucang

Credit: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Weight

225-650g

(8-23oz)

Length

26-38cm

(10.25-15in)

Lifespan

Wild 20 years

Captive 20 years

Diet

Omnivore

Eggs, Sap, Fruit

Conservation Status

IUCN

Endangered

The Sunda slow loris is also known as the greater slow loris. These animals are found across areas of South-East Asia.

They are best known for being one of the few venomous mammals. Toxins are produced by a gland near the arm which they lick. This mixes with the saliva and makes their bite harmful to any prey they are trying to subdue.

These animals are omnivores. The majority of their diet is made up of exudates (sap) which they lick from the trees. This is supplemented with eggs, fruits, leaves and bird eggs.

This species has become a popular pet due to its small size and cute appearance. Unfortunately they have been subject to collection for this. Pet loris are often subjected to having their teeth removed to remove the threat posed by their venomous bite.

Read more about these magnificent mammals by reading on below.

Appearance

What does the Sunda slow loris look like?

The sunda slow loris is covered by a coat of dense fur which is colored brown. Around the face they have white fur. Around the eye and ears are patches of darker fur.

Their hands are used to provide a powerful grasp on a branch.

They have a wet nose and large eyes.

At the end of the body is a tail which measures 1-2cm (0.4-0.8in) long.

An average Sunda slow loris will measure 26-38cm (10.25-15in) long with a weight between 225 and 650g (8-23oz). Males and females have similar appearance.

Diet

What does the Sunda slow loris eat?


These animals are omnivores. They feed on animal prey, fruits, leaves and bird eggs. The main component of their diet is exudates (tree sap).

This species is one of the few venomous mammals and can use their bite to subdue prey. This is produced in a gland beneath the arm which secretes the toxin. The Sunda slow loris will then lick the gland and this mixes with saliva to make the bite toxic.

Sunda Slow Loris

Credit: Rushen, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Range

Where can you find the Sunda slow loris?

Asia is the native home of the Sunda slow loris. Here they can be found in the following countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the Sunda slow loris live in?

These animals are found in primary and secondary rainforest, peat swamps and savannah. They are often seen in gardens and plantations. Some populations have been seen to persist in degraded habitats or logged forests.

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Reproduction

How does the Sunda slow loris produce its young?

In the wild breeding can take place year round though peaks are observed from March to May.

Males will track females which enter estrus but the female initiates the act of mating. She will hang on a branch near him and vocalize to draw attention to herself. The male will hold her and the branch as they mate.

Multiple males have been seen pursuing a single female.

In some cases the male will produce a mating plug.

Females typically produce a single infant at the end of their six month gestation period. On occasion they may produce twins.

Young receive care from their mother for nine months. Mothers and infants communicate using a call which is unique to this species.

A mother will lick her youngster which applies the toxic compound they use for defense to act as chemical protection.

Sexual maturity is reached between 18 and 24 months old for females. Males reach this around 20 months old.

Behavior

What does the Sunda slow loris do with its day?

These animals are strictly nocturnal with their activity undertaken at night. They sleep during the day on a branch or in a tree hole. These animals roll in to a ball and tuck their head in to sleep.

As their name suggests these animals are incredibly slow while walking around their environment. Their movement through the forest involves having three limbs on the branch at a time and looks like crawling. They are able to hang by their back feet.

Adults produce vocalizations including a whistle, grunt, snarl or scream.

These animals will live alone or in a small group. Adult males will fiercely guard their territory. He will use urine to mark his territory.

Sunda Slow Loris

Credit: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunda Slow Loris

Credit: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the Sunda slow loris?

Despite their venom defense this species does have some natural predators including the reticulated python, birds of prey and Bornean orangutans.

If threatened they may roll in to a ball which leaves their fur which is coated by the toxic secretion exposed to the predator.

Populations of the Sunda slow loris are decreasing across their range.

These animals are present in the pet trade. Unfortunately these animals are highly stressed in captivity and rarely survive. To remove the risk of their venom they are often subjected to having their teeth removed which can increase risk of infection. It also means the individual can not be returned to the wild.

Across their range there is significant amounts of habitat loss which is impacting on these animals.

They may be viewed as a crop pest and as a result shot by farmers.

Releases of captive specimens has led to mixing of the various slow loris species in areas where they previously did not occur.

Quick facts

These animals may also be known as the greater slow loris.

Their species name, coucang is taken from kukang, the common name of the species from Indonesia.

The species was first described for western science in 1785.

In parts of their range these animals are known as malu-malu meaning shy or ling lom, meaning wind monkey.

References

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Nekaris, K.A.I., Poindexter, S. & Streicher, U. 2020. Nycticebus coucangThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T163017685A17970966. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T163017685A17970966.en. Downloaded on 18 November 2021.

Nparks.gov.sg. 2021. 223. [online] Available at: <https://www.nparks.gov.sg/florafaunaweb/fauna/2/2/223> [Accessed 18 November 2021].

Thai National Parks. 2021. Nycticebus coucang, Sunda slow loris. [online] Available at: <https://www.thainationalparks.com/species/sunda-slow-loris> [Accessed 18 November 2021].

Ecologyasia.com. 2021. Slow Lorises of SE Asia. [online] Available at: <https://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/mammals/slow-lorises.htm> [Accessed 18 November 2021].

New England Primate Conservancy. 2021. Sunda Slow Loris. [online] Available at: <https://www.neprimateconservancy.org/sunda-slow-loris.html> [Accessed 18 November 2021].

Peña, P. 2013. “Nycticebus coucang” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed November 18, 2021 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Nycticebus_coucang/

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