Tag Archives: life

Loveable Loris -The Plushy Profile.

Allow me to introduce you to Plushy- my favorite Slow Loris that resides in the “Night World” Exhibit at the Moscow Zoo.


Though he resembles more a mini bear than a baboon, Plushy can proudly lay claim to belonging to the Primate family .(species of strepsirrhine primates which make up the genus Nycticebus)

Now you may ask “What’s the fun in coming to the zoo and watching a nocturnal animal sleep?” . Well the clever zoo keepers manipulate the light settings in the Nightworld enclosure to create nighttime during our day (thus allowing us to observe them without having to stay up at night with a gallon of coffee and a “Who cares about the animals, I just want to sleep” attitude).

Though they are known to move around slow (hence the very appropriate name) and silent (a very important survival tactic, as their slothful movements rustle less leaves , thus reducing the probability of detection by predators) do not be fooled their bite IS worse than their bark, literally.

Slow lorisis are unique as they have a toxic bite thanks to a scent gland on their upper arm that they lick to activate with saliva. The Loris uses it as a weapon against predators and apply it to their fur whilst grooming and also comes in handy as a “predator proof” system when executing “infant parking”- leaving their babies on branches while they hunt. (But fear not humans this bite is not deadly to us, but it can cause severe pain and an allergic reaction).

A few other interesting “superpowers” of the slow loris include:

  • reflective layer on eye to improve night vision and monochrome vision (very
  • They produce their own vitamin C (a trait we humans lack)
  • Toothcomb grooming claw (hands on approach to ” fur do’s )
  •  They also can consume gluta bark , by metabolizing the toxins which are fatal to humans (iron stomach much?)

Something else worth definitely mentioning is the slow loris “death grip”:

Due to a very strong muscular build in their extremities, which allows them to have enough strength to hang of of branches for long periods of time, lorisis have a very powerful clutch . Anyone who has experience in working with slow lorises probably has experienced or at least is aware of the dangers of this trait, because once it has you in its clutch, it’s more impossible to shake off than one of grandma’s hugs. I speak from personal experience, as I once had the “pleasure” of having Plushy climb up on my head without permission (while I was in his enclosure raking bark ) .Let me tell you- I’m not exaggerating about the “death grip” – I didn’t know what to be more worried about- loosing half my hair or his toxic bite .But I kept my cool because the imperative thing in situations like these  (as is with working with wild animals in general ) is to not panic and most importantly, NOT TO TRY TO REMOVE THE LORIS WITH YOUR HANDS – they will panic and bite. Instead ,as per the instructions of my superior , I walked up to the nearest branch and waited until he climbed off (thankfully it only took him one very long , for me, minute to do so)

But aside from that incident (which once again taught me how important it was to never get too comfortable in an animal’s enclosure, no matter how familiar) working,(or playing butler, which is more the case in zookeepin) with Plushy has brought a new appreciation for the lesser primates, and the realization of just how underrated they are.

Because they may be the slow loris, but their charm and adorably peculiar nature steals your heart pretty quickly. 



The morning struggle is real. Even at the zoo….


Plushy getting the preferential treatment.

Yes, I know I could just leave the bowl in his enclosure and he can eat all by himself – but watching him go face first in his fruits just warms my heart, and in life , moments like that are rare so why pass them up ?


Yes, I know I could just leave the bowl in his enclosure and he can eat all by himself – but watching him go face first in his fruits just warms my heart, and in life , moments like that are rare so why pass them up ?

Heeey Timon :)


My buddy the Northern pigtail macaque (dubbed Baba by myself)

When I would go to the capuchin cages right next to his to feed them treats (a bribe so I could observe them without them thinking of me as a enemy), he would go to the side of his cage and watch me , trying to figure out what I was doing, and why wasn’t I giving him treats? The reason to that was that this primate in life has a very intimidating pressence and I already had previously gotten my hand almost pulled off by a fluffy little stump tailed macaque, so I wasnt going to take any chances with this one. But the adventurous gene of mine got the best of me, and so I approached his cage in a very calm and cautious manner, with my the treats in my open palm visible to him. I slowly laid the treats in front of him on his little platform, from where he cautiously took one and after sniffing it, ate it. He outstreched his hand , signaling he wanted to be handfed (as I did with the capuchins)but knowing better I did’nt. We proceeded in such an exchange for the next two days, and on the third one ,(against all my common senses) I carefully extended him the treat to his hand, which to my suprise, he took very gently and , no exagerations, gracefully.
After that, we have become great buds and he evern let me pet him on the head once.
This was one of the most thrilling and amazing moments in my life.

Observing Hamadryas baboons.

Observing a family of Hamadryas baboons .

Lessons learned:

№1. Hamadryas baboons don’t “yawn”- this is a physical display of aggression to intruders and enemies.(Another one- lowering of the eyelids)

№2. I was amazed at the male baboons, especially their relationship with their young ones. Though strict in conduct with females, baboon dads will take enjoy playing with their kids, and take the daddy duty of protecting their children extremely serious.

Which leads me to lesson № 3:

3. Although you always should step on to a wild animal’s territory with caution, be a thousand times as careful when conducting yourself around baboon families with children. DO NOT APPROACH. Otherwise, this will happen:

Tied with lesson №3. , is lesson number 4: for a relatively large primate, baboons can charge with impressive speed. (View video above for evidence and a demonstration).

Lesson № 5.Getting charged by a baboon is a lesson you never forget.

Credits : The former lessons were  taught e by this enchanting creature:

1011901_10151511058038325_1119472997_n Hamadryas family  alpha male . 

Northern pigtail macaque. (Alpha male)

Northern pigtail macaque. (Alpha male)

In the pressence of this magnificent primate.

Note: If you happen to also find yourself in such company, know, these primates, like baboons, don’t “yawn”. That is a display of aggresion (which can be observed through a wide range of primates) . This means that this monkey isn’t tired- but in fact, you are not welcome- LEAVE.