Ring tail Lemur



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One of the most amazing creatures on our planet, the Ring-tail lemur, is capable of unbelievable leaps!!   RainForest Adventures is home to a growing troop of Ring-tail lemurs. 

 These creatures are losing their prime habitat in Madagascar to human encroachment.  The future of the Ring-tail in the wild is uncertain. 

 Baby Mason was born on January 7th, 2012.  Only 11 weeks old in this photo, he has already started to nibble on solid foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe and bananas. 

Baby ring tail lemurs begin to venture off moms back at approximately 5-6 weeks of age, at this young age they only venture a few inches from mom, exploring the world around them, any loud noise will cause them to jump right back on mom. 

By the time they are 10 weeks old they can be seen bouncing several feet from mom and beginning to play with older siblings that may have remained in the troop.  All of the adult lemurs in the troop show great patience for the little ones as they playfully tug on tails and generally pester the other members of their extended families.

Frequently seen traveling on the ground the Ring tail is one of the only species of Lemur to frequently leave the safety of the trees.

Range: Southern Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa

Natural Diet: Insects, fruits,  & berries. Diet can vary by season on the island nation of  Madagascar.  When fruits are plentiful the lemurs will tend to be more herbivorous than during the dry season.  

Wild lemurs must be resourceful as the types and varieties of food can swing wildly from season to season.   Droughts can bring very difficult times for many species including the Ring Tailed Lemur which tends to depend upon seasonal fruits as a staple in the diet. 

Diet at Rain Forest: Prepared Zoo diet, fresh fruit and fruit flavored liquid supplements. 

For those of you that are fans of Zabu, his favorite meal is a banana.  Dates and figs are also favorite treats of most lemur species since they contain so much natural sugar. 

Keeper Notes: The ringtail lemur is one of the most frequently seen lemurs in zoos around the world, it is estimated that there are now more lemurs in captivity than on the island of Madagascar.  All 49 lemurs are members of the Prosimian family.  This family is divided into several groups. Many people mistake the Ring tail lemur for monkeys. The Prosimian family is basically a group of very early primates but they are not true monkeys. 

The Ringtail lemur is the most terrestrial of all lemur species spending as much as 20% of it's time foraging on the ground for food items or quite literally just moving about.  Ringtail lemurs live in social troops of varying number, usually around 20 individuals.

 Female Ringtail lemurs give birth to one baby at a time (occasionally twins).  The ringtail lemur troop is made up of dominant females and juvenile males. Longevity for the Ring Tail lemur varies widely from individual to individual. In captivity the animals can live up to 18 years, although rare exceptions have exceeded this average greatly (one individual was reported to have lived to the age of 32).  Wild populations are subject to predators and disease driving the average age down to 8-10 years. 

Size: 4-6 pounds

Status in Wild: Declining. Deforestation and human encroachment are the primary reasons for the decline in the ring tail lemur populations.

Skull of adult Male Ring-tail Lemur, note the large, sharp canine teeth.

Conservation efforts have been making a positive impact on local populations of Ring-tails, particularly where the efforts coincide with eco-tourism.   Some locals on the island of Madagascar have discovered the economic benefits of preserving these animals. 






Ring Tail Lemurs are most alert for predators during the daylight hours when they descend to the ground to search for food or water.

 When feeding the Ring Tail Lemur will use the rear molar teeth to break apart hard objects, such as nuts or fruit pods that are not yet fully ripe.









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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