The potto is a small member of the primate family that can be found in the tropical jungles of western Africa. The slow moving potto is a distinct relative of the Loris found in Asia. The potto can be anywhere from 12 to 16 inches long and is accompanied by a stubby 2-3 inch tail. They have long, mostly slender bodies, large eyes, small, round ears and sharp claws. Pottos are sexually monomorphic, meaning besides genitalia, there are no secondary sex characteristics to decipher a male from a female. Pottos usually give birth around the end of the dry season to the beginning of the wet season. They only give birth to one offspring at a time. The birth of the baby tends to occur during the day. The infants are inclined to cling onto the mother's fur on her abdomen but as they become older they will start to ride on their mother's back. The potto has a simple diet of fruit, tree gum, insects and snails. Their sharp claws are mainly used for climbing trees; the potto only comes down from trees when it is absolutely necessary. These animals only have a few known predators, but have developed techniques to avoid them. The potto's main strategy to combat predators is to remain unseen. They do this by moving slowly and cautiously. Occasionally, this strategy is proven to be ineffective and the potto must confront its enemy. When this happens, the potto can use its viciously strong and sharp teeth to defend itself. If neither of these strategies is effective, many pottos have a survival mechanism where they tuck themselves into a ball and allow themselves to fall from their tree branch to the floor. This is a last ditch effort to escape their predators clutches.
Like many mammals, the potto is at the mercy of their habitat. In the case of the potto, habitat loss, caused by extensive deforestation and agriculture, has caused some local populations to decrease. Luckily, as of today, environmental factors have not had too heavy of an impact on potto populations. This does not mean however, that they are not going to be in danger in the future. If rates of deforestation continue or increase, the potto could suffer. The potto is a tree climbing animal and cannot survive without the presence of trees. For the most part, the potto is not victim to excessive hunting nor is it negatively affected by the hunting of other animals. Some pottos have been reported to be killed by manmade encroachments into their habitats, such as electrical power lines.