Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta)

Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family:    Lemuridae
Size:    Length: 15 to 18 inches (38 to 46 cm) Tail: approximately 24 inches (60 cm) 
Weight: 6.5 to 7.75 pounds (3 to 3.5 kg)
Diet: Fruit, leaves, flowers, bark, sap and insects
Distribution: Madagascar
Young:  1 every year, twins are not uncommon
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: Vulnerable 
Terms: Group:  Troop
Lifespan: 20 to 27 years



·       All lemurs are considered endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

·       The name “lemur” comes from the Latin word lemures, which means “ghosts.”



Ring-tailed lemurs are named for their long tail, which has 13 alternating black and white rings running down the length. These lemurs have a black crown and nose, and their eyes are surrounded by small triangles of black fur. Their faces and ears are white, and the rest of their body is covered with grey and brown fur. Their undersides are a creamy white. They have scent glands on their wrists and chest. 



Ring-tailed lemurs live in the forests of southern and southwest Madagascar. 


Feeding Habits

Ring-tailed lemurs eat leaves, flowers, fruit, sap and bark. They are especially fond of food from the kily tree. They occasionally eat insects. 



Ring-tailed lemurs undergo gestation periods of four to five months. Females begin to reproduce when they reach three years of age. They are friendly towards the infants of other females, and may even allow them to nurse. Young lemurs first ride clinging upside down to their mothers’ bellies, but after two weeks, ride on their backs. They are weaned at approximately five months of age. 



Living in troops of three to 25 individuals, female ring-tailed lemurs are dominant over males. They are active by day and in the early morning, they sunbathe, lying on their backs with their front paws resting on their hind legs, before feeding. They spend up to 40 percent of their time on the ground, and the rest in trees. When travelling, they raise their tails in the air so other members of the group can see where they are.  



Habitat destruction is the major conservation concern for ring-tailed lemurs. 



All the World’s Animals: Primates. Torstar Books, 1985

Life Nature Library: The Primates, Time-Life Books, 1980 

A Complete Guide to Monkeys, Apes and other Primates, Michael Kavanagh, Oregon Press Limited, 1983