Slow Loris

Taxonomic Classification

Family: Lorisidae

Subfamily: Lorisinae

Genus: Nycticebus

Species: N. coucang, N. jauanicus, N. bengalensis, N. pygmaeus

Common Name – slow loris

Physical Description

  • Height – Ranges from 19-38 cm depending on species
  • Weight – Ranges from 400-1600 g depending on species
  • Little sexual dimorphism – Males weigh slightly more than females
  • Large eyes, stocky bodies, ears hidden behind thick fur, stump of a tail covered by fur, white strip between eyes (forehead to nose), most species have stripe down their backs (varies in color from brown to black)
  • Fur color: N. coucang – light brown fur, dark stripe; N. jauanicus – yellow-gray fur, dark to black stripe; N. bengalensis – orange-buff or warm orange fur, grey neck, brown stripe; N. pygmaeus – dull reddish, medium-dark brown and gray-brown fur, seasonal color changes
  • Brain size – 9.9ccs
  • Dentition – 2-1-3-3
  • Method of locomotion – Hand over hand climbing through trees

Geography and Range

  • Found in Southeast Asia, eastern India, Indochina, S. China, Malaysia, Java, Borneo, Philippine Islands, Indonesia
  • Environment – Tropical rainforests, seasonal forests, bamboo forests, savannah forests
  • Home range can be 14.8 to 0.6 hectares depending on environment


  • Eat sap, floral nectar and flower parts, fruit, gum plants, insects, leaves, and bird’s eggs
  • Forage for food
  • Amount of feeding time – Average 8.4% to 32.6% of their active time

Social Organization

  • Solitary – females with infants may bond with other females, or older children
  • Mating is believed to be mostly monogamous
  • Territorial – males often fight to protect their territory, females live within a males territory, but they are rarely together


  • Birth seasonality – Does not depend on season
  • Gestation length – 6 months
  • Number of infants/litter – Usually only one infant at a time, twins rarely occur
  • Interbirth interval – Anywhere from 11-20 months
  • Age of sexual maturity – 18-24 months
  • Estrus swellings last about 25-45 days

Parental Care

  • Age at weaning usually between 5-7 months
  • Age at walking about 6 weeks
  • Offspring stay anywhere from 16-27 months
  • Relationships with mothers – Infants follow their mothers everywhere or ride holding onto their fur, and from her behavior learn about how to build nests, hunt, and certain peculiarities in diet that vary between social groups
  • Infanticide not reported
  • Infant/father relationship is usually limited, but infants sometimes ride along or sleep with their fathers


  • Scent – Perineal rubbing (urine deposition); Anogenital scent deposition (glands on inside of elbow/arm)
  • Vocalizations – grunts and shrieks; Signals relate to reproduction, defense, insecurity, and distress
  • Visual signals – Lowered head when resting; Lowered head and open mouth in defensive threat


  • Weaned infants follow their mother to learn what food to eat

Other interesting facts

  • Poisonous bite
  • Hunted because eyes are used for traditional medicinal remedies
  • Endangered
  • Can stay in one position for long periods of time because of their strong grips

Works Cited

Wiens, F., and A. Zitzmann. “Social Dependence of Infant Slow Lorises to Learn Diet. ” International Journal of Primatology 24.5 (2003): 1007-1021. ProQuest Biology Journals, ProQuest. Web.  6 Feb. 2011.

Schrier, Allan M., and Fred Stollnitz. Behavior of Nonhuman Primates: Modern Research Trends. Vol. 5. New York: Academic, 1974. Print. Behavior of Nonhuman Primates.

Wiens, Frank. “Behavior and Ecology of Wild Slow Lorises (Nycticebus coucang): Social Organization, Infant Care System, and Diet.” Diss. Bayreuth University, Feb. 2002. Web.

Gron, Kurt. “Slow Loris Nycticebus.” Primate Info Net. National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 18 Mar. 2009. Web. 5 Feb.2011

eSkeletons. Anthropology Dept. University of Texas at Austin. 2007. Web. 5 Feb. 2011.

Parker, Sue Taylor., and Kathleen Rita. Gibson. “Language” and Intelligence in Monkeys and Apes: Comparative Developmental Perspectives. Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1990. Print.

Wolfe-Coote, Sonia. The Laboratory Primate. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic, 2005. Print.

Websites and Pictures


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3 Responses to Slow Loris

  1. megan says:

    Looks pretty good. It looks like some of your references are websites – for those can you include the web address and a link to it?

  2. megan says:

    oh, and for the scientific species name. For species you must always include the genus with the species, so just put an N. in front of each of the species names.

  3. The slow lorises are “venomous” and not poisonous because by definition, venom has to be injected into the body, introduced by a bite or a sting. Poison, on the other hand, is ingested or inhaled into the body by the victim. Thus, venomous and poisonous animals are altogether different. I have an interesting blog post on this subject matter.

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