Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Ring-tailed Lemur babies are doing very well. The two sets of twins were born on the 5 and 17 October 2016, and since then they have grown rapidly. The last six weeks have seen them really start to behave like lemurs; they’ve begun to master jumping and climbing, and have even started practicing behaviours they won’t need for another year or so, like scent marking and ‘stink fighting’ which is used to gain dominance in males.
Now that they’re relying on solid foods more than milk, they’ve started to figure out which foods are their favourites, and to no one’s surprise, banana has come out on top! Lemurs grow and develop quite quickly for primates, so they should be fully weaned in the next couple of months. Mums have started to occasionally stop the babies hitching free rides on their backs, which is fair enough because with twins of this age, each female is carrying around an extra kilo or more. Though this hasn’t been without protest from the youngsters!
The keepers are lucky enough to have a good relationship with the babies, thanks to time spent building rapport with the mothers. Keepers are treated as part of the furniture, and will regularly be used as climbing structures or something to hide behind when the babies are playing. Each of their personalities are really starting to show, and spending time with them while watching them grow, is definitely a highlight for the staff.
Keepers are starting to familiarise the babies with the Ring-tailed Lemur island exhibit, with short periods out on the island in preparation for when they will be on exhibit in the future.
By Keeper, Sasha Brook