Slender loris

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Slender lorises
Red slender loris (Loris tardigradus)
CITES Appendix II (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Lorisidae
Subfamily: Lorinae
Genus: Loris
É. Geoffroy, 1796[1]
Type species
Loris tardigradus
  • Stenops Illiger, 1811
  • Tardigradus Boddaert, 1785

The slender lorises (Loris) are a genus of loris native to India and Sri Lanka. The genus comprises two species, the red slender loris found in Sri Lanka and the gray slender loris from Sri Lanka and India. Slender lorises spend most of their life in trees, traveling along the tops of branches with slow and precise movements. They are found in tropical rainforests, scrub forests, semi-deciduous forests, and swamps. The primates have lifespans of approximately 15 years and are nocturnal. Slender lorises generally feed on insects, reptiles, plant shoots, and fruit.


The gray slender loris, Loris lydekkerianus, is found in India and Sri Lanka.

The type species was named Lemur tardigradus by Linnaeus in 1758. The name Loris is first reported Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon in 1765, representing the Dutch loeris meaning "clown". According to Buffon, the name loeris had been in use for some time by Dutch naturalists for the "sloths of Ceylon".[3]

The genus Loris was separated from lemurs by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1796), based on a suggestion of a Lorican genus by Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton (1792). Saint-Hilaire's Loris at first included Daubenton's type species, Loris de Buffon, which he however delegated to the new Nycticebus genus in 1812.[4]

The red slender loris, Loris tardigradus, is found in Sri Lanka.

In India, slender lorises are known as devanga-pilli (దేవాంగ పిల్లి) or arawe-papa in Telugu, kaadu-paapa (ಕಾಡು ಪಾಪ) in Kannada, Kaada Naramani (ಕಾಡ ನರಮನಿ) in Tulu and wanur-manushiya in Marathi. In Sri Lanka they are known as unahapuluwa (උනහපුළුවා) in Sinhala, in Tamil, spoken across southern India and Sri Lanka and in Malayalam, spoken mainly in the Indian state of Kerala, they are known as kutti thevangu (in Tamil தேவாங்கு, வா(வாக்கு) விலங்கு(ங்கு)) (kattu-papa, Kadapapa, or theivangu (meaning 'the slender-bodied one') and in Malayalam കുട്ടിതേവാങ്ക് or കുട്ടിസ്രാങ്ക്.[5]

Genus LorisÉ Geoffroy, 1796 – two species
Common name Scientific name and subspecies Range Size and ecology IUCN status and estimated population
Gray slender loris

Gray loris

L. lydekkerianus
A. Cabrera, 1908

Four subspecies
  • L. l. grandis (Highland slender loris)
  • L. l. lydekkerianus (Mysore slender loris)
  • L. l. malabaricus (Malabar slender loris)
  • L. l. nordicus (Northern Ceylonese slender loris)
Southern India and Sri Lanka
Map of range
Size: 18–22 cm (7–9 in) long, with no tail[6]

Habitat: Forest[7]

Diet: Insects[8]

Unknown Population declining[7]

Red slender loris

Brown loris

L. tardigradus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Sri Lanka
Map of range
Size: 18–26 cm (7–10 in) long, with no tail[9]

Habitat: Forest[10]

Diet: Insects, as well as tree frogs, geckos, small birds, eggs, and fruit[9]

2000–2300 Population declining[10]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The red slender loris is found in Sri Lanka while the gray slender loris is found in Sri Lanka and India. Two of the subspecies of red slender loris differ in their habitat preference; the lowland loris, L. t. tardigradus, favors wet lowland forests (up to 470 m (1,540 ft) above sea level) in the south western wet-zone of Sri Lanka while the mountain loris, L. t. nycticeboides, prefers cloud, montane, and highland evergreen forests at elevations of 1,800–2,300 m (5,900–7,500 ft). The gray slender loris can be found in tropical rainforests, primary and some secondary, coastal acacia scrub forests, semi-evergreen forests, swamps, and bamboo groves up to 2,000 m (6,600 ft) above sea level.[11]


Female slender lorises generally have an exclusive home range while males may overlap with others. They often form small social groups to sleep, containing adults of both sexes as well as the young. The groups also undertake mutual grooming and play wrestling. The adults typically hunt separately during the night. Males will follow females while they are in oestrus and mating may occur after a bout of play fighting. Gray slender lorises will often bear twins but the survival rate is low. Newborn infants cling to the mother's front for a few weeks and after that will be kept on a tree while the mother goes off to feed.[11]They make nests out of leaves or find hollows of trees or a similar secure place to live in.[11]


The slender lorises are one of the most faunivorous primates; the red slender loris has only been observed eating animal prey while the gray slender loris is primarily carnivorous (mostly insects) but will also eat bird eggs, berries, leaves, buds and occasionally invertebrates as well as geckos and lizards. To maximize protein and nutrient uptake they consume every part of their prey, including the scales and bones. They are able to digest toxic prey such as ants and noxious beetles, urinating on their hands before entering ant colonies to mimic the chemical profile of their prey to avoid attack.


According to biologists, poaching activity has led to the steady decline of the species in Tamil Nadu. Native people have always believed that all parts of the slender loris have some medicinal or magical powers[citation needed]. This has contributed greatly to the decline of the slender loris. In addition, slender lorises are illegally smuggled to supply a growing exotic pet trade. Other threats include habitat loss, electrocution on live wires, and road accidents.[12] Along the western region of Tamil Nadu, there is a vigorous clampdown on illegal poaching of slender lorises.[13]

Destruction of tropical rain forest habitat is also contributing to declines in population.[14]

IUCN lists the red slender loris as near threatened[10] and the gray slender loris as endangered,[7] whereas they are listed under the Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972, according them the highest level of legal protection. WWF-India is working to protect the habitats of the slender lorises through its wider conservation work in the Western Ghats - Nilgiris Landscape.[15]

Kadavur Slender Loris Sanctuary[edit]

Kadavur Slender Loris Sanctuary was declared as India's first slender loris sanctuary.[16][17] It is located in Karur and Dindigul districts of Tamilnadu. This wildlife sanctuary has an area of 11,806 ha (29,170 acres).


  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 122. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  3. ^ Osman Hill, W.C.. Primates: Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy. Strepsirhini. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press, 1952, 44f.
  4. ^ Catalogue méthodique de collection des Mammifères, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (1851), p. 78.
  5. ^ Schulze, H. (3 February 2004). "Table 3: vernacular names: English, French, German, others (countries of origin)". Conservation database for lorises and pottos. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  6. ^ Menon, ch. Grey Slender Loris
  7. ^ a b c Dittus, W.; Singh, M.; Gamage, S. N.; Kumara, H. N.; Kumar, A.; Nekaris, K. A. I. (2022) [amended version of 2020 assessment]. "Loris lydekkerianus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2022: e.T44722A217741551. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2022-1.RLTS.T44722A217741551.en.
  8. ^ Nishimura, Abi (2012). "Loris lydekkerianus". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  9. ^ a b McGuinness, Rory (2011). "Loris tardigradus". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c Gamage, S. N.; Nekaris, K. A. I.; Rudran, R. (2022) [amended version of 2020 assessment]. "Loris tardigradus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2022: e.T12375A217756381. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2022-1.RLTS.T12375A217756381.en.
  11. ^ a b c Nekaris, Anna (2013). "Family Lorisidae: Angwantibos, pottos and lorises". In Mittermeier, Russell A.; Rylands, Anthony B.; Wilson, Don E. (eds.). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 3. Primates. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 210–235. ISBN 978-84-96553-89-7.
  12. ^ "Men arrested hiding loris in underwear at Delhi airport". BBC News. 10 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Saving the loris". Archived from the original on 12 April 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  14. ^ "Slender loris". April 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2012-11-29.
  15. ^ "Slender Loris". Retrieved 2022-03-12.
  16. ^ George (13 October 2022). "Kadavur Slender Loris Sanctuary – First of Its Kind in India". Tourist in India. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  17. ^ ANI (12 October 2022). "Tamil Nadu govt notifies India's first Slender Loris Sanctuary". The Print. Retrieved 13 October 2022.