Close-up of a ring-tailed lemur with her cute babies (Lemur catta). By Eric Gevaert | Shutterstock.com
Close-up of a ring-tailed lemur with her cute babies (Lemur catta). By Eric Gevaert | Shutterstock.com

About the ring-tailed lemur.

These animals have a long ringed tail that helps them move with agility from tree to tree. Unlike many other primates of similar size, lemurs don’t have prehensile tails to grasp tree branches.


Ring-tailed lemurs live in groups called troops. These troops consist of 6-30 individuals and the leader is a dominant female.


Unlike most of the lemur species, ring-tailed ones spend a lot of time on the ground, instead of in the trees.


They have glands that produce a a strong scent. This allows them to mark the territory where they are present during the mating season and determine which male is more powerful to a female.


Its main predators are the fossa and the Madagascar harrier-hawk. The first one mainly in the dry season, when it will do everything possible to hunt these animals due to the lack of easier prey.


There is only one adult male with reproductive capacity in every troop of lemurs. All females breed only with him. This is why their behavior towards other individuals can get really aggressive during the mating season.


Ring-tailed lemur females are fertile and can start reproducing at 3 years of age, and they usually give birth to one baby a year.


Baby lemurs weigh 100g at birth and during the first two weeks they are all the time carried on their mother’s chest and they nurse from her. After these two weeks, they start eating solid and walking on their own.


This species is endemic to the Madagascar island, in Africa. Its ancestors are supposed to have arrived floating to the island millions of years ago, where they remained, evolving, isolated from other primates of the world.


Despite its diurnal habits, lemurs have a reflective layer behind the retina that improves its nocturnal vision. This also gives them its characteristic red eye effect.


Unfortunately these primates are in danger of extinction mainly because of the destruction of their habitats: turned into cultivation areas or burnt to produce vegetable coal.


The social situation in the areas where they inhabit doesn’t help its protection. Locals are extremely poor and, despite the efforts to conserve the species, it is still being hunted for food.

Ring-tailed lemur. By MichaelaS | Shutterstock.com
Ring-tailed lemur. By MichaelaS | Shutterstock.com
COMMON NAMECONSERVATION STATUS
Ring-tailed lemurEndangered
SCIENTIFIC NAMESIZE
Lemur Catta39-46 cm (15-18 ft) + 56-63 cm (22-25 in)
FAMILYWEIGHT
Lemuridae2.2 kg (4.9 lb)
ORDERLIFESPAN
PrimatesUp to 18 years in the wild.
CLASSGESTATION PERIOD
Mammalia135 días
POPULATIONDIET
Unknown – decliningThey are omnivorous animals that feed mainly on fruit and Tamarind tree leaves, occasionally eating also other plants, flowers, bark, sap, arthropods or small vertebrates.
HABITATRANGE
They live in a wide variety of environments in Madagascar, but often in forest areas at high elevations surrounded by rock and ericoid savanna.They are endemic to the south and southwest of Madagascar.

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