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                              Ring-Tailed Lemurs

On Madagascar, an island near the coast of Africa, lives more than 70 different kinds of lemurs. The ring-tailed lemur lives in the southwest corner of the island. Lemurs are small primates known as prosimians which means pre-primates or before monkeys. Unlike monkeys, lemurs cannot hang from trees by their tails. Ring-tailed lemurs spend a lot of time in trees, using their hands and feet to climb and leap from branch to branch. When they are on the ground, they walk on all four legs like a cat. Sifaka lemurs dance. They do not walk when they are on the ground, they hop sideways on their hind legs.

Ring-tailed lemurs are very social and live in groups called troops. Up to 30 lemurs can be in a troop and females are the leaders. They decide where the troop will look for food and where they will rest.

The ring-tailed lemur is active during the day while many other lemurs are nocturnal. After a night where temperatures can fall as low as 50 degrees, the ring-tailed lemur likes nothing more than to spend part of the morning sitting in the sun to soak up its warmth.

Ring-tailed lemurs love soft, juicy fruit but will also eat young, tender leaves, bark, flowers and insects. They don’t like to drip juice on their fur so they eat with their heads held up in the air.

Did You Know?

Did you know that ring-tailed lemurs…

  • do handstands to rub their scent on trees, establishing their home territory.
  • sleep close together on tree branches to stay warm.
  • can live for up to 18 years in the wild.
  • use different sounds to communicate. Some are friendly and others mean danger is nearby. They purr, meow, grunt, bark, howl, squeal and make clicking sounds.
  • risk extinction as humans continue to cut down trees, taking over their natural habitats.

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