Scientific Name: Lemur catta
Size: Head to tail Lemurs are roughly 45cm-55cm long and weigh between 5 – 7.5 pounds.
Diet: Herbivores (Plants only)
Lifespan: Ring-tailed Lemurs in the wild can live up to 18 years old though some have lived a little longer in captivity
Status in the Wild: Endangered
Ring-tailed Lemurs are fascinating little primates, found in the wild, only on the African island of Madagascar, they are intelligent, social creatures and can be found in most zoos world wide.
The Ring-tailed Lemur is instantly recognisable by its long bushy black and white ringed tail. Like all primates Ring-tailed Lemurs are exceptional climbers and do spend a portion of their time in the trees of their dry forested Madagascan home. However unlike some of their primate relatives Ring-tailed Lemurs cannot use their tail for gripping or swinging from trees. Due to evolving in relative isolation on Madagascar, with few predators, Ring-tailed lemurs are also happy to spend the majority of their time on the ground, which is unusual among lemur species. They forage on the forest floor for fruit, which makes up most of their diet, nuts, leaves, flowers, tree bark, and sap.
Though they make a range of different sounds and calls Ring-tailed Lemurs primary means of communication is through smell. These little Lemurs have powerful scent glands and use their unique odour as a communication tool. Lemurs mark their territory by scent and during mating season, male Lemur’s battle for dominance by trying to out stink each other. They do this by covering their long tails with smelly secretions and waving them in the air to determine who is the most powerful.
Ring-tailed Lemurs tend to live in large family groups of up to 25 members, made up of males, females and babies, know as troops, each troop is led by a large alpha female. Female Ring-tailed Lemur’s occasionally give birth to twins, but single babies are more common. Baby Lemur’s cling to their Mother’s underside at first, but after two weeks or so when they are strong enough they move around to ride on the mother’s back, and begin to explore for the first time.
Unfortunately due to deforestation, poaching and capture to be sold as exotic pets the number of these wonderful creatures left in the wild are declining every year and sadly Ring-tailed Lemurs are now classified as endangered. However on a positive note many zoos like Fota Island Wildlife Park in Cork , Ireland and fantastic charity’s like the WWF , where you can adopt a Lemur, are working hard to ensure the preservation of these beautiful creatures.
The Ring-tailed Lemurs are definitely the stars of the Fota Island Wildlife park , which in itself is a wonderful semi open zoo located just outside Cork City in the South of Ireland. Roaming freely around the park the Lemurs are fantastic to watch , Fota’s Ring-tailed Lemurs are truly wonderful creature and the experience of getting to see them so up close in such a great setting is what, for us anyway , makes Fota Island Wildlife Park an absolute must for all animal lovers living in or visiting Ireland. Don’t believe us check out their reviews on Tripadvior.