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Scientific Name: 
Lemur catta
Phylum: 
Chordata
Species class: 
Mammalia
Order: 
Primates
Family: 
Lemuridae
Genus: 
Lemur
Species: 
catta
Status: 
Endangered
Population Trend: 
Decreasing
Quick Facts

Life Span: 20-25 years

Size: Body length - 39-46cm; tail length - 56-63cm

Weight: 2.5-3.5kgs (males are heavier than the females)

Collective noun: Troop

Fun Facts

Naming: Lemurs are named after the ancient Roman ‘Lemures’, the spirits of the dead. Their haunting sounds and staring eyes led early observers to see them as the spirits of the forest.

Unique Animals: The Ring-tailed Lemur is one of 22 species of lemur found on the African Island of Madagascar. The species is characterised by its bushy black and white-banded tail and also differs from other lemurs by spending more time on the ground compared to the other species which live almost exclusively in the trees

The Tail: The Ring-tailed Lemur’s tail serves a two-fold purpose. Firstly the black and white stripes make a striking visual sign. Secondly, in aggressive encounters, also called ‘stink fights’, the male will wave its tail, smeared with secretions from scent glands, in the direction of its rival

The infants, until about two weeks of age, cling to their mother’s belly and then ride on their mother’s backs. Mums are given a helping hand by the females in the troop, with all females participating in raising the young. At only one week old, they begin to sample solid food.

Very vocal: Lemurs are very vocal animals with many different and unusual calls. A guttural cough often indicates that they are disgruntled about something. They emit a higher pitch noise at feeding time.

Distribution Map: 

Lemurs are named after the ancient Roman ‘Lemures’, the spirits of the dead. Their haunting sounds and staring eyes led early observers to see them as the spirits of the forest. The Ring-tailed Lemur is one of 22 species of lemur found on the African Island of Madagascar. The species is characterised by its bushy black and white-banded tail and also differs from other lemurs by spending more time on the ground compared to the other species which live almost exclusively in the trees. The Ring-tailed Lemur’s tail serves a two-fold purpose. Firstly, the black and white stripes made a striking visual sign. Secondly, in aggressive encounters, also called ‘stink fights’, the male will wave its tail, smeared with secretions from scent glands, in the direction of its rival. Ring-tailed Lemurs weigh around three kilograms and females are usually smaller than males. There is a well defined troop hierarchy, with females being dominant over the males. Ring-tailed Lemurs are relatively well-known after featuring in the comedy movie, ‘Fierce Creatures’ with John Cleese, and in the animated movie, ‘Madagascar’.

Region: 
Source: 
IUCN
Year assessed: 
2014