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September 30, 2021, 07:18

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Press Service of the Moscow Zoo

Two individuals of potto – primates from West Africa arrived at the zoo at once. Zoologists hope to get offspring from the couple and thereby contribute to the creation of a reserve population of this rare species.

Pottos settled in the Moscow Zoo for the first time. These primates from West Africa are listed in the International Red Book. The wild population is steadily decreasing every year.

Despite the fact that in nature these animals are most often solitary and meet with individuals of the opposite sex only during the breeding season, the new inhabitants of the capital’s zoo live peacefully in the same enclosure. First, they went through a mandatory monthly quarantine, then moved to the Primate House pavilion in the new territory of the zoo. And since pottos are nocturnal, you can find them in the Night World exhibition.

“We tried to create conditions for our new inhabitants as close as possible to natural ones. In the tropics, pottos almost never descend to the ground; they prefer to live on tree crowns. During the day they sleep in dense foliage or hollows, curled up in a ball, and at night they go in search of food. To make African primates comfortable with us, we have updated the aviary for their arrival. They can walk on bamboo trunks and stems of vines, and in the foliage of willow and bamboo branches they can hide from prying eyes. There are also wooden houses in the dwelling. We hope the pottos will appreciate our efforts and love their new home. Zoologists expect that rare animals will give birth in the future, ”says Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo.

Although pottos are active at night in the tropics, visitors to the zoo will be able to see them during the day. The fact is that the equipment of the “Night World” exposition makes it possible to deceive the animals a little: during the daytime the lamps of the red spectrum work, imitating the twilight, and at night, on the contrary, a bright light turns on, and then the pottos go to sleep.

Visiting the “House of Primates”, you can see how slow, careful and quiet these animals are. They tenaciously cling to the branches. The unique structure of the limbs helps them deftly move along them from tree to tree. The thumbs of the hands and feet are turned 180 degrees relative to the other fingers; on the front paws, the index fingers are reduced to tubercles. On the hind legs, the second toe has a special “cleaning” claw, and on the rest there are flat nails that resemble human ones.

Pottos have an interesting feature: when they sense danger, they freeze in one position. This is facilitated by the unique structure of the blood vessels that circulate blood in a stationary position. Thus, the animal does not attract attention to itself, it becomes invisible to the predator. When the threat is over, he comes to life.

Wild individuals feed on everything that can be found in the crowns of trees: insects and their larvae, spiders, slugs, birds and their eggs, bats, fruits, leaves. Zoologists took into account the biological needs of the potto and made a diet for them, similar to the natural one. The menu of the new inhabitants of the Moscow Zoo includes crickets, locusts, flour beetles, and also acacia gum, fruits, vegetables and root vegetables. At the same time, insects are released into the aviary alive so that the primates do not lose their hunting skills.

Common pottos belong to the Loriev family. In the wild, they can be found in Cameroon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and other West African countries. Potto is inhabited by humid tropical forests. They have thick gray or brown fur. The body length of an adult is about 40 centimeters, weight is about a kilogram. The muzzle is broad, with protruding large dark eyes.

The lifespan of wild pottos does not exceed 20 years; in captivity, the animals live up to 26.

This is not the first addition to the collection of the Moscow Zoo in September. Recently, the exposition first settled honey badgers… Despite their small size, they are famous for their brave character. If something threatens their lives, honey badgers do not hesitate to attack. They can easily attack a lion, leopard and buffalo, they do not care about the poison of a cobra and a scorpion. No wonder the animals got into the Guinness Book of Records as the most fearless mammals in the world.

In addition, anteaters can now be seen in the capital’s zoo. tamandua… The male Pancho has already settled in the aviary in the Primate House pavilion, while the female Lola is still in quarantine.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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