POTTO – Perodicticus potto


Potto facts: Pottos have dark fur on the top of their body, and light brown fur underneath. They have a body length of 15 inches (38.1 centimeters) with a 2.5-inch tail (6.5 centimeters). A grown potto weighs only about 2.75 pounds (1.25 kilograms). Its dark eyes are large and round.

As protection from predators, a potto’s upper back has a humped area of thickened skin on top of long vertebral spines. This thickened area, often called a shield, is covered by fur and contains long tactile, or feeler, hairs. These tactile hairs help detect a possible predator attack, and the shield can be turned toward the predator to help protect the potto from the attack.

Where do pottos live: Pottos are found in Africa, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Kenya.

Potto diet: Pottos eat mostly fruit, but they also eat insects and gums (plant juices). They find insects by smell. They will eat insects that other animals might avoid, such as ants, hairy caterpillars, slugs, and stinky beetles.

Behavior and reproduction: Pottos usually live alone. They move about at night in the trees, traveling quite slowly hand over hand. They mark their trails with urine. During the day, pottos sleep in thickly leaved branches.

Female pottos usually have one infant after being pregnant for about 163 days. A potto baby weighs just 2 ounces (56.7 grams). It has a thin layer of fine fur. It eyes are open. From the first day, the infant holds on to the mother’s front and travels with her until it becomes more independent. It will leave its mother at about one year old.

Pottos and people: Potto habits of moving slowly and carefully at night, high in the trees, make them difficult to study.

Conservation status: Pottos are listed as Vulnerable. The major problem is habitat, or living site, destruction due to deforestation, cutting down trees.