Exotic Pets, The Slow Loris

The Slow Loris is a type of primate from southeast Asia, they have recently become trendy as pets, however the exotic pet trade may be doing more to hurt this little animal, than it is doing them any good.

What is a Slow Loris

The slow loris is a small, nocturnal, primate. There are several species, the smallest of which is the pygmy small loris, and the largest is about the size of a small house cat. They have large heads with big round eyes and small ears.

The hands and feet of the slow loris are small, but have superb grip, they are noted for being able to hand for hours using their back feet. On each hand and foot their second toe is a grooming claw known as a “toilet claw”, and they do have thumbs. They have a few color patterns typically accented by white on their nose and patches around their eyes.

One of the most unique features of the slow loris is their bite, which is toxic. The slow loris has a gland on its arms which it licks and mixes with its own saliva to make a toxin. They use their bite to deter predators, and will also lick their offspring with this toxin to protect them. It is believed snakes and leopards can “taste” the toxin and will avoid eating a youngster that smells of it.

It is the problems associated with their bite that leads to most cruelty in the pet trade for this primate.

Slow loris do have an odor that some people might find offensive.

File:Slow Loris Female.jpg

photo source

Diet and Care

The slow loris is a omnivore, eating insects, birds, reptiles, and eggs, in addition to eating vegetation including gluta bark. They tend to prefer eating meat and insects over plants. In captivity they may be fed cat food, or a high protein dog food, as well as being supplemented with meat, cooked brown rice, fruits, as well as young mice or hamsters (often sold as snake food).

They need to be kept in a large space with areas that they can hang. Slow loris are nocturnal and will be awake at night, and somewhat noisy. They enjoy climbing and should have many branches upon which to climb and roam. An appropriate enclosure for these animals is a small room, or space at least 6 ft x 6ft x 6 ft. Unless in a large space, they are best kept alone and males should not be kept with other males. Stucco wire and 2×2’s work well to build an enclosure. Be sure to provide a water source.

Due to the fact that slow loris do not tolerate stress well they should be kept in areas where they receive little trauma and stress. In other words they do not do well in a party-house or home with unruly children.


Cruelty in the Exotic Pet Trade for Slow Loris

File:Nycticebus tooth removal 01.jpg

photo source

Slow loris have poor reproduction in captivity, even zoos have a difficult time breeding them. As such most slow loris in the pet trade have been taken from the wild. Many die as a result of this stress alone, others due to a lack of proper nutrition during their captive period, but most die following the procedure to remove their front teeth (as is done to prevent a poisonous bite).

The teeth of the slow loris are usually cut or pulled out (not by a veterinarian) leaving the animal open to infection and bleeding. Many will stop eating due to the pain and discomfort, leaving them weak. It is estimated that more slow loris die than make it into the exotic pet trade. Many slow loris that are rescued from illegal pet markets do not survive the first month (and die from stress, infection, or malnutrition). Without their teeth they cannot be returned to the wild.

Currently the exotic pet trade is reducing wild populations and putting the slow loris at risk.

Due to the known cruelty involved with the slow loris they are illegal as pets in many areas, capture of wild animals is illegal in areas where they are native. Even where they are legal as pets CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) has banned this animal from international trafficking, meaning obtaining one from anyone other than a breeder (highly unlikely) is illegal. People who are trafficking these animals will try to tell you they are “captive bred” but you need to realize they are probably lying.


Note: I am not endorsing these animals as pets, I truly think the exotic pet trade is doing a disservice to the slow loris and many die in the trade for every one that becomes a pet. However since many people will insist on keeping them as pets despite my plea otherwise, I feel it is important to provide education on proper care to those people to help them look after the pets they have.

The slow loris is a cute animal and has been made popular in youtube videos, however these videos took advantage of the animals docile and protective nature, exploiting them to look cute. People should not be suckered in to the pet trade for this exotic animal as they are doing the species no favors and are in fact contributing to their demise and cruelty.


If you want a cute exotic pet, I suggest a Silkie Chicken, Fluffy Bunny, or maybe even a Sugar Glider (although I am not so sure they should be pets either).

Further Reading

The Dark Side of the Pet Monkey Trade

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User Comments
  1. nobert soloria bermosa

    On May 9, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I admire you and Brenda for all those pets and other domestic animals under your care but I wouldn’t want a slow loris for a pet…

  2. Mark Gordon Brown

    On May 9, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Drat this was published on gomestic.. I hope they move it to therealowner site, the most important information is on page 2 here, so PLEASE readers see the second part

  3. sanaahmed

    On May 9, 2011 at 11:56 am

    great work

  4. Jimmy Shilaho

    On May 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Now, this is more scaring than pettish.

  5. Nandini Deshmukh

    On May 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    nice picture!!!

  6. Ruby Hawk

    On May 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Oh, that’s too bad they their front teeth have to be removed. Maybe they shouldn’t be kept as pets. They are interesting animals.

  7. Brenda Nelson

    On May 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    The slow loris is cute, but as you say, these animals should not be kept as pets. Thanks for spreading the news.

  8. Anuradha Ramkumar

    On May 10, 2011 at 1:10 am

    How cruel some people are too these animals? Understood the message that these are not meant to be kept as pets.

  9. papaleng

    On May 10, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I too share your thought about owning exotic pets specially those which are listed as endangered. I have once seen a slow loris being sold in one of the pet shops in our place. Those owners knowing selling these pets are illegal are just doing their trade with impunity. guess, laws in our country is so lax addressing this issue.

  10. Georgi

    On May 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Peaple are really cruel.Not just with animals but between each other…..So sad worlds…..

  11. Aşk Sözleri

    On May 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    good thanks ()))

  12. eddiego65

    On May 13, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Poor creature. Such animal cruelty should be stopped. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  13. lillyrose

    On May 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Excellent awareness article. I agree the are beautiful and that they really should not be kept as pets, much better for them to live wild.

  14. YouHavePets

    On May 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Never knew about this. That photo of the nail clippers removing the teeth makes me cringe!

  15. Canary Singing CD

    On May 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Those poor animals. Really I can’t believe how insensitive and daft some people are.

  16. Trish

    On May 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Wow I had never heard of a slow loris. A very informative post it was enjoyable and I learned a lot, not sure I want one as a pet though.

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    On June 2, 2011 at 8:59 am

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  18. Thomas

    On June 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly- I hate that every few years another “novelty pet” becomes popular, some poor species of wild animal that looks adorable but in reality makes a terrible pet. Until everyone in the general public likely to buy one finds out what bad pets they make by buying one (several years later), their populations are decimated. I wish more people would just get one of the many pets that need homes from a local animal shelter- those animals, unlike wild animals, make GREAT pets and unlike wild animals (who had an excellent home until you came along) the animals in shelters are looking for a home.

  19. PetDoggies

    On June 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks for such great info! I do love dogs too!

  20. Soni

    On June 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

    great article..but i think the slow loris should not be kept as pets..i think its scary as a pet..thanks for your information.

  21. Reptiles for sale

    On August 17, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Reptiles for sale, including lizards, snakes, turtles, tortoises, salamanders, newts, frogs, toads, and feeders!

  22. ashley

    On March 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    cant we just leave them in their natural habbitat i mean im 13 and i know its wrong to hurt them this way. stop slow loris trade

  23. Tshirt Exports India

    On June 4, 2012 at 7:50 am

    It is really a sad thing. How can they call themselves a Human?

  24. jazreena

    On October 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Whatever.. Can someone just help me where can I get this slow loris? I’m staying in KL, Malaysia.

  25. Adiphene

    On January 17, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    amazing post with nice animals, thank you very much.

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