National Zoo celebrates birth of 2 pygmy slow lorises, an endangered species

WTOP's Dick Uliano introduces us to the National Zoo's new pygmy slow loris babies.

At the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, two brown, fuzzy babies with big round eyes belonging to an endangered species have been born in the Small Mammal House.

“They are incredibly cute. They look like little teddy bears,” said Kara Ingraham, animal keeper for small mammals at the National Zoo. “They’re so cute and look like little fluff balls.”

The babies, born March 21, are pygmy slow lorises.

Small Mammal House keepers cradle two pygmy slow loris babies in their hands. (Courtesy Kara Ingraham/Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute)

“They’re a definitely unique and not well-known animal. The slow loris is a type of prosimian, so it is a primate,” Ingraham said. “They are native to Asia … to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and China.”

The pygmy slow loris is a nocturnal creature, so to mimic their natural habitat, they are kept in the darkened area of the Small Mammal House.

Zookeepers say the babies appear to be strong and healthy, and the best time to see them when they’re active is during late mornings and early afternoons.

The cute and fuzzy critters also have a surprising characteristic.

“The thing that everyone is always surprised to learn about them is that they are a venomous primate, slow lorises are the only known venomous primates,” Ingraham said.

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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