One of the most amazing creatures on
our planet, the Ring-tail lemur, is capable of unbelievable leaps!!
RainForest Adventures is home to a growing troop of Ring-tail lemurs.
are losing their prime habitat in Madagascar to human encroachment. The
future of the Ring-tail
in the wild is uncertain.
Mason was born on January 7th, 2012. Only 11 weeks old in this
photo, he has already started to nibble on solid foods such as watermelon,
cantaloupe and bananas.
Baby ring tail lemurs begin to
venture off moms back at approximately 5-6 weeks of age, at this young age
they only venture a few inches from mom, exploring the world around them,
any loud noise will cause them to jump right back on mom.
By the time they are 10 weeks old
they can be seen bouncing several feet from mom and beginning to play with
older siblings that may have remained in the troop. All of the adult
lemurs in the troop show great patience for the little ones as they
playfully tug on tails and generally pester the other members of their
Frequently seen traveling on the
ground the Ring tail is one of the only species of Lemur to frequently leave the
safety of the trees.
Range: Southern Madagascar, off
the east coast of Africa
Natural Diet: Insects, fruits, &
berries. Diet can vary by season on the island nation of Madagascar.
When fruits are plentiful the lemurs will tend to be more herbivorous than
during the dry season.
Wild lemurs must be resourceful as the
types and varieties of food can swing wildly from season to season.
Droughts can bring very difficult times for many species including the Ring
Tailed Lemur which tends to depend upon seasonal fruits as a staple in the diet.
Diet at Rain Forest:
Prepared Zoo diet, fresh fruit and fruit flavored liquid supplements.
For those of you that are fans of
Zabu, his favorite meal is a banana. Dates and figs are also favorite
treats of most lemur species since they contain so much natural sugar.
Keeper Notes: The ringtail
lemur is one of the most frequently seen lemurs in zoos around the world, it is
estimated that there are now more lemurs in captivity than on the island of
Madagascar. All 49 lemurs are members of the Prosimian family. This family
is divided into several groups. Many people mistake the Ring tail lemur for
monkeys. The Prosimian family is basically a group of very early primates but
they are not true monkeys.
The Ringtail lemur is the most
terrestrial of all lemur species spending as much as 20% of it's time foraging
on the ground for food items or quite literally just moving about.
Ringtail lemurs live in social troops of varying number, usually around 20 individuals.
Female Ringtail lemurs give
birth to one baby at a time (occasionally twins). The ringtail lemur troop
is made up of dominant females and juvenile males. Longevity
for the Ring Tail lemur varies widely from individual to individual. In
captivity the animals can live up to 18 years, although rare exceptions have
exceeded this average greatly (one individual was reported to have lived to the
age of 32). Wild populations are subject to predators and disease driving
the average age down to 8-10 years.
Size: 4-6 pounds
Status in Wild: Declining.
Deforestation and human encroachment are the primary reasons for the decline in
the ring tail lemur populations.
Skull of adult Male Ring-tail Lemur, note the large,
sharp canine teeth.
Conservation efforts have been making
a positive impact on local populations of Ring-tails, particularly where the
efforts coincide with eco-tourism. Some locals on the island of
Madagascar have discovered the economic benefits of preserving these animals.
Ring Tail Lemurs are most alert for predators during the
daylight hours when they descend to the ground to search for food or water.
When feeding the Ring Tail Lemur will use the rear
molar teeth to break apart hard objects, such as nuts or fruit pods that are
not yet fully ripe.
New Lemur Species Discovered in Madagascar
German Scientists Name One Species after WWF Biologist
Lemur has a white stripe on its nose, maroon, orange and white fur, and
short, rounded ears.
photo: Robert Zingg
Two new lemur species have been discovered on the island nation of
Madagascar and one of them has been named after
Dr. Steve Goodman, a scientist with World Wildlife Fund and Chicago's
Field Museum of Natural History.
Goodman's Mouse Lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) is barely bigger
than a mouse, has a white stripe on its nose, maroon, orange and white fur,
and short, rounded ears (lehilahytsara is the Malagasy word for good man).
Scientists with the German Primate Center and the University of Göttingen
and their Malagasy collaborators analyzed its genetic makeup and determined
it was an entirely new species of mouse lemur.
The scientists named it after Goodman, coordinator of WWF's Ecology
Training Program and Senior Field Biologist at The Field Museum in
recognition of his almost two decades of field research and its contribution
to understanding the diversity of Madagascar's unique and threatened fauna.
"It's a great privilege to have this species named after me, but it
really honors all of the project members, scientists and researchers who
work in the field with us over the years," Goodman said. "These discoveries
underline how little we know about the fauna of Madagascar."
The second species, Mirza zaza, was named in honor of Madagascar's
children, since zaza is the Malagasy word for child. It is nocturnal,
weighing about 10 ounces and is the size of a gray squirrel.
Lemurs exist only on Madagascar and are considered the most endangered of
all primates. The discovery of two new species shows the importance of
conserving Madagascar's rapidly disappearing forests.
High Resolution Pictures
zoo, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN