Aye-Aye, Madagascar

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If Dracula ever had a pet lemur it would have been the aye-aye. Nocturnal, with long teeth and long bony fingers- its most prominent feature, this is one lemur one would be least likely to want to cuddle.

The creature is notoriously hard to see, to the point that some biologists questioned its existence. It is said aye-aye got its name when the Malagasies first saw the captured animal and not having seen one ever before cried “Aye-aye!” in awe. But I know different. If you stood hours on hours in the middle of the night under a tree trying to photograph a mother aye-aye teaching her baby to scrape out the inside of a coconut with one finger through a tiny hole, you’d know too that the name comes from a stabbing pain in the neck and shoulders, and it’s more like “Aye-yay-yay!”

Not taking any chances about not seeing this animal in the wild, I put my faith in a place called Aye-Aye Island, and it didn’t disappoint. Perhaps in the future, the owner of the island will advertise it as an authentic village setting with a great chance to see the rare creature, and then people like me would shy from it, or maybe even run in the other direction, because every “authentic village” I’ve been dragged to was nothing but a specially-made tourist trap. Aye-Aye Island however was just that – a tiny island with a few families busy with farming, fishing, and tending to the occasional guest who drop by for a few hours or stay for the night. The women and children brought me litchi, the men – a green tree boa. They wanted to accompany me every time I set into the jungle but sometimes I was just too unpredictable for them to follow. I found my own aye-ayes and chameleons anyway.

Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, and acquiring her higher education in the US, Sarit Reizin is proud to call herself a citizen of the world. However, to stay worthy of the title, she felt a nomadic lifestyle was in order, and in November 2005 left the comforts of the first world with no desire of coming back any time soon. http://HopStopTravel.com

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Author: Sarit Reizin

Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, and acquiring her higher education in the US, Sarit Reizin is proud to call herself a citizen of the world. However, to stay worthy of the title, she felt a nomadic lifestyle was in order, and in November 2005 left the comforts of the first world with no desire of coming back any time soon. http://HopStopTravel.com

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