Potto (Perodicticus potto)

Potto (Perodicticus potto), also called bush bear, tree bear, or softly-softly, slow-moving tropical African primate. The potto is a nocturnal tree dweller found in rainforests from Sierra Leone eastward to Uganda. It has a strong grip and clings tightly to branches, but when necessary it can also move quickly through the branches with a smooth gliding gait that makes it quite inconspicuous.

This medium-sized sloth-like nocturnal creature inhabits forest interiors, where it spends the nights foraging upside down from tree branches. It can sometimes be located at night by shining a spotlight into the canopy.

The potto occurs in Kibale National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable and Queen Elizabeth national parks, as well as most other major rainforests, and it is most likely to be seen in guided night walks in Kibale Forest.

potto nocturnal primate uganda

The pato feeds on fruit, small animals, and insects (especially larvae) and curls up to sleep by day in tree hollows.

Its is about 35 cm (14 inches) in length, excluding its furry 5–10-cm (2–4-inch) tail. It has large eyes, sturdy limbs, stublike second fingers and toes, and dense woolly fur, which is grizzled reddish in colour. A ridge of short, blunt spines formed by the neck vertebrae runs down the nape. The spines are covered by thin, highly innervated skin and are thought to be sensitive to the movements of potential predators when the potto tucks its head between its arms in a defensive posture.

This species inhabits all strata of lowland and montane tropical moist forest, swamp forest, and other lowland forest types. It is commonest in secondary and colonising forests, and along the margins of these forests.

Pottos are solitary animals, but do display some degree of sociality. The females give birth to one young annually.