Potto

Perodictus potto

Primates are generally categorized into three groupings—monkeys, apes, and prosimians. Typically thought to be more primitive than other primates, prosimians tend to be small and nocturnal. The big-eyed potto certainly fits the bill.

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Using clamp-shaped hands and feet, with opposable thumbs and big toes, the potto climbs slowly and carefully through the rainforest canopy, and rarely comes down from the trees. If danger is near, the potto holds very still to blend in, and can hold its position for hours. If attacked, the potto tucks down its head and projects the bony processes between its shoulder blades that act as a shield. It can also inflict a nasty bite.

  • Though the potto is slow, it can quickly snatch up small prey animals if the opportunity arises.
  • A mother potto “parks” her baby on a hidden tree branch while she goes out to forage at night.
  • As solitary primates, pottos leave behind urine trails along branches to communicate with each other through scent.

 

Fact File

pronunciationPronunciation: POT-oh
where to see themWhere to see them: Night Hunters
lengthLength: 1 to 1.3 ft
weightWeight: 1.7 to 3.7 lbs
lifespanLifespan: More than 25 yrs
habitatHabitat: Tropical forest
dietDiet: Fruit, insects and other small animals