He's An Aye-Aye, Sir!
Say yes, Steve. Better yet, say aye-aye. Because that's what Blue Devil is—an aye-aye (pronounced I-I, not A-A), one of the oddest of mammals. Aye-aye live in Madagascar, the big island off southeast Africa that is home to many rare and exotic species. Like lemurs and lorises, aye-aye are members of the pro-simian branch of primates. (The other branch, the anthropoid, includes apes, monkeys and humans.)
Elwyn Simons, a primatologist at the Duke University Primate Center, believes that Blue Devil—named for the university's mascot—is believed to be the first aye-aye ever born in captivity. He weighed just 5 oz. at birth on April 5, but eventually he'll weigh 6 or 7 lbs. and grow to about 16", plus a 22-inch tail. And the camera loves him: He's got black eyes, a pink nose and triangular ears. And Steve? That elongated middle finger? Don't worry. He uses it to poke around for grubs and insects in tree trunks.
How did we find him, you're wondering. Simons brought four aye-aye back from Madagascan forests last January. Among them was Endora, a female who was pregnant with Blue Devil at the time. Since aye-aye are in danger of extinction in Madagascar, Simons hopes Blue Devil will be the first of many aye-aye offspring at Duke. "These animals are almost an unrenewable resource because they're so difficult to get," he says.
Oh, one more thing: When Blue Devil wants his mother, he goes, "Eep!"
OK, it's not "E.T. phone home!"—but it's a start.