Who doesn’t love lemurs?! Lemurs are an amazing group of species that I’ve found are becoming more and more common in zoos. There are almost 100 different species of lemur but I’ve found the most common ones in captivity are ring-tailed lemurs and black and white ruffed lemurs. These are incredibly endearing animals – they are fluffy with long tails and they LOVE to climb. They spend a lot of time grooming within their family groups. If you look closely you will see a nail on their second digit specialized for grooming, as well their lower front teeth resemble a comb and will be used often for that purpose. Madagascar is where all the species of lemurs call home; truly a great example of evolving and adapting to their environment.
Ring-tailed lemurs are the species I see most often. They are a highly social, living in troops with multiple males and females. Their mating season is relatively short and this results in the young growing up together. You will often see a baby clinging to its mothers back, although the group works together in raising the young. Their most obvious trait is their tail. It’s very long and is striped black and white, like rings. They rely on scent a lot to communicate and have many scent glands on their bodies. They will rub this scent on their long tails to help disperse it from their glands. When moving around they will carry their tails high in an ‘S’ form, this is to help communicate with others in their group. They can also be very vocal and have a wide range of sounds, from shrieks to purrs to chirps.
Black and white ruffed lemurs are fluffier than the ring-tails and as their name suggests are starker in colour. The piercing yellow eyes against their black and white fur are sure to catch your eye while passing by. Also forming family groups, they tend to be one breeding pair with their offspring. Females will make nests for their young which they will line with their own fur.
With their exceptional climbing abilities and cheeky nature they are sure to be your next favourite stop at the zoo…just to see what they are up to!