Pop Goddess with Slow Loris in Phuket

Filed in All posts, In the News, Articles by on October 8, 2013
Rihanna and tslow loris bangla road

Rihanna and the Nycticebus

For many years hawkers have been parading exotic animals along Patong’s renowned Bangla Road, charging tourists to have their picture taken posing with the creatures. An array of baby elephants, iguanas, pythons, gibbons, eagles and enough exotic wildlife that would make a small zoo proud to house.

What is not such a common sight along Bangla, however, is an internationally famous pop star taking a ‘selfie’ with an endangered species. Rihanna caused a bit of furore amongst Phuket’s animal lovers posing with the endangered Slow Loris. In recent years the wide eyed nocturnal little creatures, native to South East Asia, have unfortunately joined Bangla’s throng of exploited animals.

slow loris venomous

This photo was taken by Dr. Karmele Llano Sánchez of the International Animal Rescue (IAR).

It’s easy to see why the slow lorises are popular with tourists; they are undoubtedly cute and make for a good holiday snap. But what is probably unknown to many is that because they have a potentially lethal bite their teeth are pulled out with pliers, in many cases causing infection or death. The Slow Loris is the world’s only venomous primate, this venom is stored in a gland on their arm which they lick. This then mixes with saliva in the mouth, activating the toxin, it acts as a deterrent to predators and also used to coat the fur of their young for protection. The only reason these beautiful creatures are docile and quiet upon handling is due to a passive defence reaction, they are not happy whilst sat on your shoulder, they are terrified. Please do not encourage this practice.

Rhianna unwittingly but thankfully highlighted the illegal practice of keeping slow lorises and although the authorities are trying to clamp down on the hawkers it’s a lot easier to avoid the police with a slow loris than a baby elephant.

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  1. Eight Ace says:

    It’s funny you should say that, but I was driving up Bangla that night, and got stuck behind some slow lorries…do I win £5?

  2. admin jon says:

    A) it is illegal to drive up Bangla at night as it is pedestrianised B) the only slow lorries you find in that area are embedded in shop fronts. Your post is in but your cheque is not in the post.