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
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.