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Red Slender Loris

Red Slender Lorises are nocturnal animals that live in Asia’s trees. They eat insects, small animals, fruit and flowers in the trees of Eastern and Southern Asia. Because their arms are quite delicate, they have developed strong jaws as a compensatory measure.

The Red Slender Loris is a mammal that is not currently considered to be endangered. It was rated as vulnerable due on habitat loss and hunting for its fur.

This species diet consists of almost everything as it is not very picky about its food. This omnivorous creature mainly feasts on insects, but also lizard eggs, bird eggs, and in even on its own kind in some rare cases!

  • Status: Endangered
  • Known as: Red Slender Loris, Slender loris.
  • Estimated numbers left in the wild: 100 to 1,500.

Description of the Red Slender Loris

Red Slender Loris Cling on a Tree Branch
image by Dr. K.A.I. Nekaris is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The red slender loris is a curious-looking creature – a small primate weighing around 150 grams and measuring between 11.5 and 17 centimeters long, with huge red eyes, rounded ears, and long, slim arms and legs.

The large, forward-facing eyes give the red slender loris excellent night vision and superb depth perception as well. The hands and feet are dexterous and well adapted to climbing through the trees that this loris calls home. The big toe is opposable, as is the thumb. Individual fur color varies from grey to russet.

Red slender lorises forage alone despite their sociable aspects. They move quickly through the treetops as they quest for food, which mostly takes the form of insects. They supplement their insectivorous diet with leaves, berries, and other plant parts.

Red slender lorises can also be quite predatory at times, creeping up on lizards and grabbing them with both hands, after which they devour the entire reptile, scales, bones, and all. These lorises grow active when the sun begins to sink, and rest or sleep during the daylight hours.

Red slender lorises are quite sociable when they are not feeding, forming small groups who groom each other, play and sleep in the same area. These lorises may sleep in tangled areas of branches, tree hollows, or simply on a branch, curled up tightly. Females outrank males in their social hierarchy.

Mating occurs at any time during the year, and is always accomplished with both partners hanging upside down beneath a branch; the animals are unable to mate in any other position.

The maximum lifespan of a red slender loris in the wild is thought to be 18 years.


This small, agile, intriguing primate is limited to the southwestern corner of Sri Lanka. Lorises are not found above 700 to 900 meters elevation above sea level, and prefer lowland rainforests. There is a highland subspecies that live in mountain rainforests, however.


Red Slender Loris Hiding on Tree Leaves
image by Dr. K.A.I. Nekaris is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.


A whole battery of hazards confronts the red slender loris today.

Though protected by law and living in a theoretically protected habitat, these lorises are hunted regularly because of their body parts’ alleged use as “medicine”, a major threat to many animals from Asia. Slender lorises are also struck and killed by cars while crossing roads or are electrocuted on power lines while attempting to climb along what appears to them to be a vine.

Massive habitat loss to illegal logging, and the advance of cinnamon, oil palm, tea, and rubber plantations, is devastating the lorises’ environment and likely sealing off any possibility of future recovery while humans remain active in the area.

Red Slender Loris is a nocturnal animal that lives in Asia

Red Slender Loris looking at the camera
image by Dr. K.A.I. Nekaris is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Red Slender Loris is a nocturnal mammal that thrive in the trees of Eastern and Southern Asia. It lives in forests and trees at low altitude, making them vulnerable to hunters. They have not developed any type of relevant defense mechanism. And so, they are not able to defend themselves, but that is not a problem as they do not have any natural enemies or predators. However, they are known to have a venomous bite.

This species is mainly active at night and rests during the day in hidden dense leaves to avoid potential predators. It is also able to fold their ears when it is not being used.

Red slender lorises are omnivores

Red Slender Lorises are omnivores, but like the other lorises, they consume insects as their primary diet. They have a highly developed sense of smell, which they use to find insect prey in the dark. In addition, they’ve been observed eating eggs and tiny vertebrates.

Red slender lorises will add small vertebrates such as mice and birds to their diet, but they won’t consume larger mammals. They also eat arthropods and fruit. These strange creatures have been observed eating food while hanging upside down from a branch or while climbing. They have also been observed licking tree trunks for sap. They will usually consume gum from trees, sometimes ingesting so much that their stomachs swell. They do this by chewing on the bark to stimulate production of sap and then licking it off with their tongues.

Red slender lorises eat poisonous millipedes to self-medicate, even though millipedes can kill them. They are also known to have a habit of licking their arms and legs which has been suggested to be for nutritional or sanitary reasons. Some of their kind have been fairly observed eating soil, but its purpose is unknown.

Red slender loris is now considered endangered

Red Slender Loris on a Tree Branch
Alex Pyron, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite being simply classed as “vulnerable” owing to habitat loss and hunting for its fur, the Red Slender Loris was reclassified as an endangered species by the IUCN.

The slender loris’ population decreased due to Sri Lanka’s deforestation. Today, there are believed to be only 2,500 or so individuals remaining in isolated forest patches throughout Sri Lanka’s south-western and central regions.

The Red Slender Loris Conservation Programme is a project that ZSL has been working on to assist this species. This initiative began in 2008.

There are two different types of red slender lorises. One dwells in wet lowland regions and the other in dry areas. However, their homes are being destroyed as a consequence of people building houses and collecting firewood from them.The Montane Slender Loris is caught in a bind.

It was thought that this creature’s subspecies had gone extinct until it was rediscovered in 2009.

However, there are only about 80 individuals of this loris species left, making it a critical conservation issue.

Conservation efforts

One of the best hopes for the loris comes from NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that work in conjunction with local people. For example, Land Owners Restore Rainforest in Sri Lanka, or LORRIS, is an alliance of landowners and environmental scientists attempting to restore some rainforest to a crucial loris region.

Other organizations are attempting similar medium-scale grass-roots initiatives.


Do you know of or are you a part of an organization that works to conserve the Red Slender Loris, then please contact us to have it featured on Our Endangered World.

See Related: Animals That Start With V


Red Slender Loris Clinging on a Tree Branch
Ruwan 14, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Red Slender Lorises are small, agile primates that live in the southwestern corner of Sri Lanka where they prefer lowland rainforests but can be found at elevations up to 900 meters above sea level if living in mountain rainforests.

They weigh around 150 grams and measure between 11.5 and 17 centimeters long with huge red eyes, rounded ears, and long slender arms and legs.

Lorises have opposable thumbs that help them climb trees. They are also predators because they hunt for lizards or other reptiles. At night, they come out and play with each other until they mate. They do this by climbing up to the branch and hanging underneath it.

Red slender lorises are endangered because they live in an area where there is not enough space for them. The animals are hunted down and their bodies are used as medicine, even though it is illegal to do so. But now organizations who protect the animals are helping them to live on and thrive.

They are near threatened on the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and hunting their body parts for “medicine” where despite being protected by law they are often hunted because of this.


What is Red Slender Loris?

Sri Lankan slender lorises are a species of tiny, agile primates that dwell in the southwestern province of Sri Lanka and prefer lowland rainforests, but they can survive at elevations up to 900 meters above sea level in mountainous regions. They weigh approximately 150 grams and are between 11.5 and 17 centimeters long with large red eyes, rounded ears, and long slender arms and legs.

At night, Red Slenders Lorises use their opposable thumbs to climb trees; but at dusk, they come out and play mate until both individuals hang from a tree upside down and intertwine their arms (upon which mating occurs).

How many Red slender lorrises are left in the wild?

Red slender lorises are among the rarest animals in the jungles of Southeast Asia, but new research is being conducted on this species of nocturnal primate. Red slender lorises make up a family of 92 different species of primates called pottos and galagos.

Red slender lorises are one of the Red List “critically endangered” animals that are on the verge of extinction. It is threatened by deforestation, witchcraft, and poaching for food.

These species are most likely to be found in the trees of rainforests or any other wooded areas where Red Slender Loris is abundant and its Red slender loris prey is plentiful.

These ares are believed to be tropical regions such as the China, Laos, Vietnam, Nigeria, Senegal, Indonesia.

Where do Red slender lorises currently live and why?

Red Slender Loris live in India, China, Myanmar (Burma), Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. They are endangered species because their forest homes are being cleared for logging and other human activities. Their populations have also declined due to pet trade or they have been killed for use in potions or traditional medicine.

How do Red Slender Lorises protect themselves?

Red slender lorises use a type of chemical found in their saliva for defense against predators that is toxic to other animals but not Red slender lorises.

They use this chemical on their babies to protect them from predators while they sleep. This creature is also known as Red Hills Lutung, and it is a close relative to other nocturnal primates such as bushbabies and slow loris.

Red Slender Loris has a special adaptation in their eyes that are called vertical pupil.

Are Red Slender Lorises omnivorous?

Red slender loris is classified as an omnivore. Red slender lorises are omnivores which means that they eat meat and plants. They eats insects, small birds, rodents, reptiles, fruits and leaves. They have strong jaws to help them crack the exoskeleton of the insects that they eat.

This species has a shortened snout and sharp canine teeth. it also has two small lower canines for eating insects such as ants, termites and bee larvae with molars in the rear of the mouth so it is able to grind up their food which is necessary.

What is a threat to Red slender lorises today and how can we protect them better?

Human encroachment into Red Slender Loris natural habitats has increased not only due to human population growth, but also because of the demand for black magic rituals. These species bodies are requested by witch doctors to be used in certain ceremonies because they are thought to bring good luck.

Its body parts are used in ceremonies that aim at bringing wealth, health and good fortune to the owner.

However, human population growth and development are the main causes of endangerment for today’s Red Slender Lorises. Fortunately, this is beginning to change owing to nations like Sri Lanka that have prohibited the sale of its kind in order to implement rehabilitation and conservation initiatives.

The Red Slender Loris is a primate that lives in Sri Lanka’s wet zone and has fewer than 60 individuals remaining in its natural habitat, which has been fragmented into three isolated regions.

It is highly sensitive to any change in its surroundings, having already declined due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation. It is estimated that less than 100 Red Slender Lorises survive in the wild today.

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