A new, rare baby — so small, it could fit in the palm of your hand — is calling a Tennessee zoo home.
The Memphis Zoo welcomed the baby pygmy slow loris in a Jan. 29 Facebook video, which showed the endangered primate being hand-fed by staff. Despite being taken care of by the zoo’s veterinary staff for now, the “tiny, but mighty” baby will eventually join the nocturnal animal exhibit, Memphis Zoo said in a Facebook post a day later.
The baby was born Dec. 13, but staff thought it needed “extra assistance” to make sure it survived, the zoo said. Instead of being raised only by its parents, Samper and Artemis, the baby pygmy slow loris was “hand-reared by dedicated staff” at the Memphis Zoo.
To keep the baby healthy, veterinary staff feeds it every two hours, the zoo said.
Although it started out just drinking formula, the zoo said the baby has moved on to enjoy a wider variety of food: a mixture of banana and leaf eater biscuits, to name one. The baby also started to eat out a bowl.
Pygmy slow lorises are “small tree-dwelling primates” that originate from parts of Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam, Laos and some parts of China, according to the Memphis Zoo’s website.
Full-grown pygmy slow lorises are about 6 to 10 inches long, with not much variation between males and females, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.
Some say the species looks like teddy bears, the zoo said.
They are typically found in forests and enjoy climbing throughout trees, the National Zoo said. Pygmy slow lorises have “very strong hands and feet,” meaning it takes a lot to tire them out while hopping from branch to branch, according to the Memphis Zoo.
The zoo said pygmy slow lorises are the most endangered primate of their kind — a non-lemur prosimian, which are considered more primitive than monkeys and apes.
Their rarity isn’t just related to how many slow lorises there are in the world. They are also the “only known venomous primate” in the world, according to the National Zoo.
Sweat glands on the loris’ elbows secrete a toxin that, when licked, can give the primate a poisonous bite, the National Zoo said. Adult pygmy slow lorises may also lick their babies’ fur to protect them from predators, according to the Memphis Zoo.
The species is also known for their large eyes that help them see when it’s dark. On the other hand, bright sunlight may be “hugely disorienting and distressing” to pygmy slow lorises, according to the National Zoo.
As the baby continues to grow and develop its personality, zoo staff will eventually determine its name, according to its post.