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Scientific Name: 

Lemur catta

Conservation Status:
Endangered

Where to see them:
The Living Treehouse, Ford African Rain Forest

Fun Facts:

Ring-tailed lemurs have distinctive tails consisting of 13 alternating black and white bands.

Ring-tailed lemur males “stink fight” with each other. They rub their tails with the scent glands located on their wrists, then they flick their tails at each other.

They have special teeth called a “dental comb” which they use to groom their (and other lemurs’) hair.

 

Ring tailed Lemur

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Size
Length is 37-43 inches (including tail); weight is between 5 and 7 pounds.

Range
South/southwest Madagascar

Habitat
Gallery forests

Lifestyle
Ringtailed lemurs live in social groups consisting of three to 25 individuals. Troops consist of many males and many females – the females are the dominant members of the troop. To strengthen bonds within the troop, the lemurs will groom each other.  When a large troop of lemurs are traveling, they keep their distinctive tails raised up as “flags” so the group members can locate each other. To mark their territory, ringtailed lemurs will rub their scent glands (located on their chests and wrists) on trees. The males also have “spurs” on their wrists to make scratches in the trees before they scent mark them.  The females will usually stay in the same troop their entire lives, while the males will travel to other troops when they mature. 

Food
Ringtailed lemurs are herbivores and eat mainly leaves, fruit, flowers and small insects in the wild.  In the Zoo, we also feed them vegetables and a dry food containing vital nutrients.

Life Cycle
Ringtailed lemurs have a four and a half month gestation. Usually, they have one offspring at a time, although if food is plentiful, they can have twins. Initially, the infants cling to their mother’s stomachs, but as they grow they will start to cling to her back. Juveniles start becoming independent around 1 month of age, and are fully weaned by 5 to 6 months of age. 

Lifespan
20 – 25 years

Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)
Other lemur species, flying fox, fossa, tenrec, African swift, chameleon

Population Status & Threats
Ringtailed lemurs have a few predators (including domestic dogs), but are endangered mainly due to human activities. The forests where they live are being converted to farmland or harvested for charcoal production.  Also, some ringtailed lemurs are captured for the pet trade.