Friday, October 10, 2014

The Dying Lemur


            Today after doing my laundry I was laying around reading when I heard a bunch of kids in my backyard.  Curious to what they were doing, mostly out of boredom, I got up and walked to my backdoor.  Upon seeing me, one of the kids held up his hand in a motion for me to stay where I was and then ran around the corner of my house.  He shortly reappeared with a small fury animal in his hand.  As he approached I was unsure of what it might be; a mouse or a squirrel I thought possibly.  When he got to the bottom of my steps he laid it on the ground and I could finally see what it truly
was, a mouse lemur! I could see from the rise and fall of its small chest that it was still breathing, but it made no attempt to run away.  I picked it up off the ground and held it in my hand; partly because I wanted the kids to stop poking at it, but mostly just because I wanted to hold it.  It was, after all, the first time I had ever had the chance to hold a non human primate in my life.  In my hands I could feel it breathing and its tiny heart beating, but it still made no attempt to flee.  It in fact it would barely move at all.  It would only slightly move its arms to grab hold of my finger with its small hands.  After about 30 minutes or so (I am unsure of the time since I was so captivated by the fact I was holding a lemur), it died still laying in my hands.  This was an incredibly awesome and sad time for me.  Monkeys are my favorite animal and lemurs are close enough that I am going to count it as the same.  This experience was the closest I have been to one and the first time I have held one, but it also died in my hands. 
I asked the kids if they had killed it and they replied with an adamant no, but that they had just found it down by the river.  The mouse lemur, to the Malagasy here, is not considered a lemur because it is so small and lives in trees around the town.  Lemurs, they say, are bigger and only live in the forest.  I do believe that the kids most likely found it as it was.  Mouse lemurs are nocturnal and live inside tree trunks during the day.  They are also fairly fast and can jump a good distance.  Knowing this, and after seeing the kids try to throw rocks at a stationary jackfruit and missing many times, I am pretty certain they probably did not kill it.  

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