If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a cute animal video, you may have encountered ones of the slow loris, a small, nocturnal primate with big eyes and an expressive face.
The animal has become particularly famous for “tickle videos,” in which the creature raises its arms as a reaction to having people touch their armpits. A new video from International Animal Rescue, however, cautions against the species’ Internet popularity and subsequent interest in it as an exotic pet.
“If I told you that this loris has her arms up because she’s terrified and is trying to protect herself by gathering venom from a glad inside her elbow, would you think it is cute?” asks Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan in the video.
The video also decries the conditions lorises endure while being shipped around the world and the fact that they have their teeth removed – often without anesthesia – before being sold as pets.
A website designed to raise awareness of the lorises’ plight, TicklingIsTorture.org, urges visitors to pledge to protect the species by not sharing or liking videos showing slow lorises being kept as pets and instead leaving a comment that directs people to this informational site to learn about the dangers pet trade poses.
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In short, if you enjoyed one of these videos in the past, no, you’re not a monster, but take care not to cause these animals any more suffering.