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Ararat Ridge Zoo

Ring-Tailed Lemur

Like all lemurs, these primates are native only to Madagascar and are named for the 13 black and white rings that pattern their tails.

Ring-Tailed Lemur

Day of Creation: six
Biblical Kind: true lemur (includes all true lemur species)
Status: endangered
Length: 3–4 feet
Weight: 3–5 pounds
Habitat: scrubs and dry forests of southern Madagascar
Lifespan: 15–30 years
Diet: leaves, fruits, seeds, roots, invertebrates, small vertebrates, eggs
Family Life: live in troops or “conspiracies” of 5–30 individuals
Reproduction: 1–2 pups are born after 4- to 5-month gestations

Fun Facts

Even though they don’t have large brains like monkeys and apes, lemurs are still quite intelligent. They can organize sequences, understand basic arithmetic, and use tools!

Ring-tailed lemurs are the most terrestrial of the true lemur species, but they’re still excellent climbers! Their hindlegs are slightly longer than their forelegs, and they have extremely long, dexterous tails. They have excellent senses of sight and smell and are very agile, having the ability to leap from tree to tree or maneuver quickly on all fours on the ground.

Despite being primarily diurnal, ring-tailed lemurs are the only species of true lemur that possess a tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer in the eye that improves night vision.

Females dominate ring-tailed lemur society, with all females outranking males in hierarchy regardless of age. They are very social and very vocal and make over 30 distinct sounds to communicate. Females usually remain with their troops for life, while males migrate from troop to troop throughout their lives.

Male ring-tailed lemurs engage in stink fighting by covering their tails with scents and waving them at their opponents. Males also have spurs on their wrists that they use to pierce trees and insert their scents.