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Sunda Slow Loris

Nycticebus courang (aka Greater Slow Loris)

Sunda Slow Loris


The Sunda slow loris is distinguished from other lorises by dark rings around its large eyes, a white nose with an obvious whitish strip that extends to the forehead, and a dark stripe that stretches from the back of the head along the spine. Its fur ranges from light brown to deep reddish brown, with a lighter underside. Length ranges from 10 to 15 inches, and weight 21-24 ounces. Male and female Sunda slow lorises do not vary by color, size or weight.

Distribution and Habitat

The Sunda loris is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, the southern peninsular area of Thailand, and throughout Singapore. Although it prefers primary and secondary tropical lowland forests, it is adaptable and will also live in other types of habitat, including disturbed and logged forests.


Mating can occur any time of the year. Although males will track females in heat, all mating is initiated by females. To initiate, the female hangs from a branch within sight of the male, often vocalizing to draw further attention. The mating act itself is performed while the couple is hanging from a branch. One offspring (rarely twins) is born after a gestation period of about 188 days. Only females care for their young. Before and during weaning (which occurs at 3-6 months), females lick their young, covering them in toxic oil, so the young may be protected while the female leaves to forage. Females also provide an example from which the young will learn to move through the trees. Independence is achieved at 16-26 months. Average lifespan in the wild is about 20 years.


Roughly one third of the Sunda loris's diet is saps and gums, another third consists of nectar and nectar-producing plants, and approximately one fourth of their diet is fruit. The remainder of its diet consists of random items, such as snails and eggs.

Other Habits and Behaviors

Sunda lorises move slowly through trees on all four limbs, typically with three limbs attached to support at any given time.

Although they are normally solitary, Sunda lorises do not appear to defend their home ranges, nor do they show any hesitation in entering another individual's home range. The individual's range serves as a general ground for activity, with no actual attachment to the range except by habit.

Adults exhibit eight distinct calls of one of two types, contact and aggressive/defensive. Smell plays a central role in interactions, with uses ranging from alerting others of identity, to physical state, and even positioning of the individual. Their elbows contain glands that exude oils, which are licked and spread by the individual to communicate position and status. When locating the scent of another, the individual will usually rub its face on the surface where the scent was found. The oil is poisonous, with enough power to kill an adult human if not treated properly. If threatened, lorises will roll into a ball, leaving nothing but toxic fur exposed to the predator. Lorises may also roll into a ball and drop from the trees if the predator is arboreal.

Conservation Status

The Sunda slow loris is greatly threatened by the pet trade and habitat encroachment, as well as by gathering for illegal traditional medicine.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Mammalia
order Primates
suborder Strepsirrhini
family Lorisidae
genus & species Nycticebus courang

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Mammals >> Order Primates

This page was last updated on September 25, 2017.