Some loris love for St Valentine’s!

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So are they naughty little animals, hot-footing it from one partner to another? Are loris families torn apart by philandering fathers? No! Endearingly, early studies from the field show that the Javan loris presents a shining example of a healthy uni-male, uni-female family unit. And just in time for Valentine’s Day too, one of their favourite things to do together is spend time in the caliandra flowers sipping nectar—sweet!

Take Tereh, her man Guntur and little baby Tahini. They spend a lot of time together within a 100 m radius, with mum and baby snuggled together in the first few weeks of life and dad reassuringly close by. After that, unusual for primates, it is the man who takes over, with Guntur visiting baby Tahini throughout the night! Of course, we cannot be 100% sure that Gunter is Tahini’s father. Loris paternity tests are a long way down the pipe-line and are surpassed by more pressing concerns such as the components of loris venom! This isn’t Jeremy Kyle you know. That said, ladies have been known to let another man into their lives on occasion (just don’t tell Guntur).

Generally, loris mum, dad and kids live in stable social units or spatial groups. They spend their time allogrooming, following, expressing alternate click-calls and whistles and sleeping in close contact, with parents sharing the shopping responsibly by transferring information on food resources.

They are generally on good terms with the neighbours and interactions between members of overlapping spatial ranges are a genial affair with occasional grooming and whistling. But when there is a spat, look out—you could lose an ear! Other than those rows, we humans could take a gum-leaf from the loris book of manners!

 

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