Aye-ayes Ardrey and Elphaba have eggs for breakfast at the DLC!
Because a significant percentage of an aye-aye’s diet consists of insect larvae that dwell inside dead or living trees, the animals have evolved a specialized method for locating the larvae. As they walk along a branch, the animals continuously and rapidly tap it with their middle finger. Cupping their huge ears forward, the aye-aye listens intently to the echoing sounds coming from the tapped tree. When the sound indicates they are above an insect tunnel, the animals begin to tear off enormous chunks of the outer bark with their impressive teeth, until the insect tunnel is revealed. Then the aye-aye inserts its slender and highly flexible third finger into the hole, and when the prey is located, it is hooked with the tip of the finger and removed.
Here, Ardrey and her daughter Elphaba use the same process to eat eggs from their technician, Mel: they tap, chew, then use their long flexible middle fingers to dip into and remove the yolks of the eggs :) When they finish, the delicate eggshells remain fully intact, except for the small hole created by the aye-ayes’ strong front teeth!
Big thanks to DLC Primate Technician Mel for filming this amazing video! Click here to read more about aye-ayes at the Duke Lemur Center: http://lemur.duke.edu/discover/meet-the-lemurs/aye-aye/.