Two, rare night monkeys, also known as slow lorises, have been born at a zoo in the Dutch city of Amersfoort. The monkeys are nocturnal creatures and move slowly, hence the name slow loris, but have poison glands on their elbows and can move quickly if provoked, making them able to protect their young and hunt. 

The monkeys are just seven centimetres tall

The cute-looking baby monkeys are just seven centimetres tall, with some species of the creature able to grow up to 37 centimetres at adult age. Despite their cute appearance, the monkeys can be deadly, with poison glands on their elbows that mothers can lick and transfer poison onto their young to protect them from predators. 

However, even with such protection, the monkeys have become endangered in the wild. Originally found in Vietnam, Laos, and other parts of southeast Asia, the slow loris species range from critically endangered species, such as the Bangka slow loris, to the endangered Bengal slow loris, and the more commonly spotted but nevertheless vulnerable Bornean slow loris. All slow loris populations in the wild are understood to be at risk, according to primate experts. 

Amersfoot’s newest monkeys are settling into their new home

The two monkeys that were born recently have been settling into their new home, an enclosure at the zoo. The babies, who are twins, live in the zoo with their mother and father, and the zoo has been taking lots of pictures to track their development. They are doing well,” caregiver Christel Broekman told NOS. “The twins look around curiously, but for now they explore the environment from their mother’s belly or the plants.” 

The pygmy slow loris is known for its strong visibility at nighttime, which also makes the animals vulnerable to predators due to their highly reflective eyes. The animals are nocturnal, and hide in trees during the daytime, but can move quickly when they are hunting for insects to eat. 

“Before the mother goes hunting, she licks her elbows, which have special poison glands. She then licks her young, so that the poison protects the young animal from predators,” says Broekman. “The new mother is protective of her young. That is why we have to wait until the mother allows us to come close,” the caregiver added.

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