Pygmy slow loris

Writer: Isaac Cohen   |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A pygmy slow loris is seen in a mountain of Shenzhen in this Nov. 2, 2021 photo. Photos by Isaac Cohen 

Pygmy slow loris

Fascinating as it may seem to you, our beautiful Shenzhen is not just about birds, or frogs, or snakes. In addition to the common animals you can see elsewhere, there are astonishingly unique animals living here as well that many people find it difficult to believe their eyes when they actually see them. One that I am talking about is a small mammal that inhabits the mountains of our city, the one and only pygmy slow loris (Xanthonycticebus pygmaeus), a very small primate of about 20 centimeters and scarcely 1 pound (0.45kg) in weight.


The pygmy slow loris is the smallest of all the loris species in the world and can be found only in a relatively small area in some parts of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and the southernmost part of China. It is a threatened animal on the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list, catalogued as vulnerable, with its population fast declining due to habitat loss and animal trafficking.


A pygmy slow loris is seen in a mountain of Shenzhen in this Nov. 2, 2021 photo. 

Its body is covered by a beautiful reddish brown fur, and its long arms and legs are almost the same in length. It has very sharp claws. Its very short tail is not used as other primate species for hanging, holding or balancing their body. Instead, they use just their arms and legs to climb and hold to branches.


Two huge round eyes make up the most remarkable feature of this species, providing the animal with sharp night vision. The pygmy slow loris is active during the night, climbing the trees in search of whatever crosses their way, earning themselves fame as opportunistic predators. Slow lorises also feed on fruits, leaves or even tree sap.


A pygmy slow loris is seen in a mountain of Shenzhen in this Nov. 2, 2021 photo. 

The reproduction period of a female pygmy slow loris can fall any time between July and October, during which time she can only be fertile for about five days. If successful, a female will have a six-month pregnancy carrying either one or two babies at maximum.


The protection and preservation of these small animals is in our hands. Let’s keep working hard to create a better environment for all the amazing animals our city hosts, not just for the benefit of our city but for the future of our world as well.