Ring-tailed Lemur

Lemur, Ring-Tailed

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  • Information
  • Conservation
  • Lifestyle

Description

Ring-tailed lemurs are highly active diurnal primates. They have a dog-like snout complete with whiskers. Their exceptionally soft fur is gray on the back with a bright white underside.  They are named for their magnificent black and white banded tail. Lemurs are classified as prosimians, which means ‘before apes’, though they also occurred before monkeys. Prosimians are the most ancient and primitive of the primates.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Primates
Family
Lemuridae
Genus
Lemur
Species
L. catta
Conservation Status
Endangered

Key Facts

Length
19-20 in (48-51 cm)
Weight
5-7 lb (2.3-3.1 kg)

The IUCN Red List describes Lemur catta as Endangered. Most of Madagascar’s natural habitat has been logged or converted for agricultural uses. In just thirty-six years, over 50% of the ring-tailed lemur population has been lost, with the remaining animals residing in protected preserves. Though not currently being bred for release programs, the Bronx Zoo undertook a release program on St. Catherine’s Island off the coast of Georgia. The release program was successful in that the zoo-raised lemurs adapted to and bred in the wild. Should the need develop for a release program, the model for this species has been tested and proven to be highly successful.

Social Life
Ring-tailed lemurs are social animals spending much of their time on the forest floor. After cold nights huddled together, these lemurs may be found warming themselves in the morning sun with their arms outspread in a Buddha-like posture. This peculiar form of thermoregulation is distinctive for the ring-tails. Their matriarchal troupes are often comprised of 5 to 30 individuals, with a dominant female leading the way through the brush.

Habitat and Range
Ring-tailed lemurs are primarily forest dwellers, ranging from rainforests to subalpine, deciduous gallery, and spiny bush forests, preferring habitats along rivers. They are found only in the southern ranges of Madagascar.

Diet
Ring-tailed lemurs are best considered as opportunistic omnivores, feeding on anything from ripe fruits, leaves, leaf stems, flowers, flower stems, spiders, spider webs, caterpillars, cicadas, insect cocoons, birds, eggs, chameleons, grasshoppers, and even dirt from termite mounds.

Lifespan
Ring-tailed lemurs can live up to 20 years in the wild and 25 plus years in captivity.

Predators
Main predators of the ring-tailed lemur include raptors and fossa.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 2.5-3 years, Female: 2.5-3 years
Mating Season:  April to June
Birth Season:     August to October
Gestation:          134-138 days
No. of Young:     1, but twins are common

Information

Description

Ring-tailed lemurs are highly active diurnal primates. They have a dog-like snout complete with whiskers. Their exceptionally soft fur is gray on the back with a bright white underside.  They are named for their magnificent black and white banded tail. Lemurs are classified as prosimians, which means ‘before apes’, though they also occurred before monkeys. Prosimians are the most ancient and primitive of the primates.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Primates
Family
Lemuridae
Genus
Lemur
Species
L. catta
Conservation Status
Endangered

Key Facts

Length
19-20 in (48-51 cm)
Weight
5-7 lb (2.3-3.1 kg)
Conservation

The IUCN Red List describes Lemur catta as Endangered. Most of Madagascar’s natural habitat has been logged or converted for agricultural uses. In just thirty-six years, over 50% of the ring-tailed lemur population has been lost, with the remaining animals residing in protected preserves. Though not currently being bred for release programs, the Bronx Zoo undertook a release program on St. Catherine’s Island off the coast of Georgia. The release program was successful in that the zoo-raised lemurs adapted to and bred in the wild. Should the need develop for a release program, the model for this species has been tested and proven to be highly successful.

Lifestyle

Social Life
Ring-tailed lemurs are social animals spending much of their time on the forest floor. After cold nights huddled together, these lemurs may be found warming themselves in the morning sun with their arms outspread in a Buddha-like posture. This peculiar form of thermoregulation is distinctive for the ring-tails. Their matriarchal troupes are often comprised of 5 to 30 individuals, with a dominant female leading the way through the brush.

Habitat and Range
Ring-tailed lemurs are primarily forest dwellers, ranging from rainforests to subalpine, deciduous gallery, and spiny bush forests, preferring habitats along rivers. They are found only in the southern ranges of Madagascar.

Diet
Ring-tailed lemurs are best considered as opportunistic omnivores, feeding on anything from ripe fruits, leaves, leaf stems, flowers, flower stems, spiders, spider webs, caterpillars, cicadas, insect cocoons, birds, eggs, chameleons, grasshoppers, and even dirt from termite mounds.

Lifespan
Ring-tailed lemurs can live up to 20 years in the wild and 25 plus years in captivity.

Predators
Main predators of the ring-tailed lemur include raptors and fossa.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 2.5-3 years, Female: 2.5-3 years
Mating Season:  April to June
Birth Season:     August to October
Gestation:          134-138 days
No. of Young:     1, but twins are common

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Lemur, Ring-Tailed