Cute Deadly Furballs

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Round head with big round eye, it is so adorable. I am sure you can look at them for a whole day without feeling bored. Slow Loris is a nature cartoon character with an innocent look. They always look so welcoming for a hug. Nevertheless, if you found one in the wild, you better leave soon without alerting them.

You won’t find them anywhere in the world. This cute, deadly furballs only can be found in South and Southeast Asia. They prefer rainforests, bamboo groves and mangrove forests with high and dense canopies.

Currently, there are at least eight species of Slow Loris, namely Sunda Slow Loris, Bengal Slow Loris, Pygmy Slow Loris, Javan Slow Loris, Philippine Slow Loris, Bangka Slow Loris, Bornean Slow Loris, and Kayan River Slow Loris.

They are cute with an innocent look. However, they won’t allow you to put them on your bully list. They are the world’s only venomous primate, and one of the seven mammals with venom.

Slow Loris produces a secretion from their brachial gland, which is a scent gland located on the upper arm near the armpit. The location is relatively hair-free and slightly raised.

In Indonesia, Slow Lorises are also called “a shy one” because they freeze and cover their face when spotted. In fact, they are getting ready with their toxin from their brachial gland to protect themselves or get ready for an attack.

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This ooze noxious oil from their brachial gland, combined with their saliva, can be used to defense themselves and protect the young offspring. Occasionally, they used it against each other when fighting for their territory or foods.

To protect themselves and their offspring from predators and parasites, Slow Loris will lick their brachial glands, and then deposit their saliva on their fur or groom their young ones with their toothcomb.

If they were threatened, Slow Loris may also lick their brachial glands and bite their attackers. The bite will deliver the toxin into the wounds, which bring pain to the attackers and force them to retreat.

That is not all that the toxin can do. The bite leaves a series of complication to the attackers. Inflammation will occur around the wound. Necrosis, which is cell death, will also occur in the area of the bite. This causes the attacker’s flesh to rot away. That also followed by hematuria, which is having blood in their urine. In some cases, attackers have anaphylactic shock, which may lead to death without immediate treatment for severe cases.

A research evaluated the toxin from Slow Loris and studied the first reported case of severe anaphylactic shock following a Slow Loris bite in a victim with cat allergy. They found that the polypeptide sequence of the toxin has high similarity, up to 90 percent, to one of the eight type of cat allergen, known as Fel-d1. The victim presented allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. Nevertheless, the relationship between the severity of symptoms versus the acuteness of the anaphylactic shock still remains unknown.