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Photo: Rick Stevens
Ring-tailed Lemur twins

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed the birth of two sets of Ring-tailed Lemur twins on 5 and 17 October 2016.

Mothers Rakitra and Cleo are both doing well and keepers are pleased with the maternal behaviours they are displaying towards their babies.

“Both Rakitra and Cleo are new mothers, they have had offspring before but sadly none of their young have survived past the first 12 weeks, so we’re taking things very slowly,” said Keeper Sasha Brook.

“So far the mothers and their babies are doing well and we are very happy with progress to date. Both mums are quite protective and are very careful of the way they move around and the speed at which they move around, ensuring their babies are holding on properly,” said Sasha.

The babies will cling to their mothers until they are about four months old, but they have started to venture short distances away from their mothers to play.

They are also starting to mouth and chew on food but at this stage this doesn’t serve a nutritional purpose. Ring-tailed Lemur babies are generally weaned from their mothers from around two months of age.

“Ring-tailed Lemur twins and triplets are not uncommon, in the wild multiple births are usually dependent on a good season and an abundance of food,” said Sasha.

Ring-tailed Lemur babies grow and develop rapidly; just like humans they need to learn how to do everything such as walking, jumping and climbing.

“When they are born they instinctively know how to cling on to their mothers but everything else they learn over a short period of time,” said Sasha.

The Ring-tailed Lemur twins are currently not on exhibit, as they are being given plenty of time to bond with their mothers. They can occasionally be seen in the breeding facility from the perimeter fence. The mothers and their babies are likely to be on exhibit in the New Year.