The Aye-aye is a near threatened species not only because its habitat is being destroyed, but also due to native superstition. Besides being a general nuisance in villages, ancient Malagasy legend said that the Aye-aye was a symbol of death.
It is viewed as a good omen in some areas, but these areas are a minority.
However, public contempt goes beyond this. The Aye-aye is often viewed as a harbinger of evil and killed on sight. Others believe that should one point its long middle finger at you, you were condemned to death.
Some say the appearance of an Aye-aye in a village predicts the death of a villager, and the only way to prevent this is to kill the Aye-aye. The Sakalava people go so far as to claim Aye-ayes sneak into houses through the thatched roofs and murder the sleeping occupants by using their middle finger to puncture the victim's aorta.