Brown Lemur



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One of the 49 species of Lemurs, the Brown, is one of the less colorful of the group.  The only place on earth to find this beautiful animal is the island nation of Madagascar.  Living in the mid-level of the rainforest, the Brown lemur is one of the less vocal lemurs.  

Generally living in small groups of 12 or less individuals, the Brown lemur generally mates in spring with a gestation of approximately 4 and a half months. The Brown Lemur shares the current fate of  all lemur species on the island of Madagascar, loss of habitat, coupled with hunting by the local inhabitants of the island are putting unsustainable pressures on this beautiful and intelligent animal.   

Range: Three distinct population groups are found on Madagascar in the Northern half of the island.









Natural Diet: Fruits, nuts, berries, occasional insects and small vertebrate.

Diet at Rain Forest: Prepared monkey chow with fresh fruits and vegetables.  Bananas are a favorite of most species of lemur.   Individual lemurs have favorite food items just as humans do, while some prefer certain food items others of the same species will reject the identical food.

Keepers Notes: The Brown Lemur is one of the most arboreal of all lemur species.  Spending upwards of 95% of their time in the tree tops the lemur travels as a group from tree to tree.  Large arboreal and ground dwelling Boa Constrictors are one of the main predators of this and many of the Lemur species.  Madagascar has very few large predators, the only mammal thought to prey on this species with any regularity is the Fossa.

Mating season is June: birth season is September and October. One or two offspring are born. Usually one young born per year. Until 3 weeks of age the young spend time riding on Mom's back, then they will take their first steps. Nursing continues in a steady decline until the infant is approximately 5-6 months of age.

The lemurs belong to a family called Prosimians, literally translated this means "early monkeys"

Size: Male and female Lemurs weigh about 4-6 pounds each, males are slightly larger. Dense fur often makes these animals appear larger than they actually are. 

Status in Wild: Currently listed as Not Threatened by the IUCN. Loss of habitat is the primary concern in the future for this species.  Consumption by humans is still an issue for the animals on the island of Madagascar.




Madagascar  -2005

New Lemur Species Discovered in Madagascar
German Scientists Name One Species after WWF Biologist

Goodman's Mouse Lemur has a white stripe on its nose, maroon, orange and white fur, and short, rounded ears.
photo: Robert Zingg

Two new lemur species have been discovered on the island nation of Madagascar and one of them has been named after Dr. Steve Goodman, a scientist with World Wildlife Fund and Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History.

Goodman's Mouse Lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) is barely bigger than a mouse, has a white stripe on its nose, maroon, orange and white fur, and short, rounded ears (lehilahytsara is the Malagasy word for good man). Scientists with the German Primate Center and the University of Göttingen and their Malagasy collaborators analyzed its genetic makeup and determined it was an entirely new species of mouse lemur.

The scientists named it after Goodman, coordinator of WWF's Ecology Training Program and Senior Field Biologist at The Field Museum in recognition of his almost two decades of field research and its contribution to understanding the diversity of Madagascar's unique and threatened fauna.

"It's a great privilege to have this species named after me, but it really honors all of the project members, scientists and researchers who work in the field with us over the years," Goodman said. "These discoveries underline how little we know about the fauna of Madagascar."

The second species, Mirza zaza, was named in honor of Madagascar's children, since zaza is the Malagasy word for child. It is nocturnal, weighing about 10 ounces and is the size of a gray squirrel.

Lemurs exist only on Madagascar and are considered the most endangered of all primates. The discovery of two new species shows the importance of conserving Madagascar's rapidly disappearing forests.


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