Ring Tailed Lemur
Species: Lemur catta
- Height: 15-18 inches
- Tail length: 22-25 inches
- Weight: 3-3.5
- Coat: thick and soft, rosy gray coloring, white underside, ringed tail
with alternating white and black bands
- Skin: black skin on nose, hands, and feet; scent glands near wrists. In
males these glands are overlaid *" a horny spur. Eyes: binocular vision
- Locomotion: fluid motion, walks with a still, leaves ground with little
effort, sails to height of approximately 10 feet. Spend more fin)e on the
ground than any other type of lemur.
- Longevity: 20+ years
Geographic Location: Madagascar
- Habitat: In trees, drig tailed lemurs prefer broad horizontal limbs to
thin, less stable branches. Also use ground extensively.
- Home Range: in groups of 5-30 with both male and female dominance
hierarchies, but females dominant to males
- Day Range: the group travels during the day and use tails as a visual
signal; day ranges vary greatly, recorded as approximately 900-1000 m
- Population Density: 6-23ha/15-57 acres; each group consists of an average
of 15 lemurs; groups cover between 15-57 acres
- Eat fruit, leaves, herbs, and other plant parts including bark and sap
- Especially favored is the Kily tree
- Proportion of fruit to leaves in diet varies a=rding to forest type
- Predation: few natural predators due to secluded development on Madagascar
- Group size: 3 to 20+ individuals, average 18 with multiple adult males and
females Females are dominant and remain in natal group; males transfer out
- Females are dominant not only over males, but have their own dominance
hierarchy among females which leads to better access at feeding sites
- Dominant males lead other males with a tail held high and curved in an 'S'
- Rank does not play a role in mating
- Defined territories tend to overlap with other groups
- Young are raised by the entire group; orphans are 'adopted'
- Aggression: During ritualized fights, animals smear tails with secretions
from scent glands at wrists and then waive the tail at opponents
- Highly adaptable to our climate and conditions
- Lemurs try to 'fatten up' before the harshest season to survive
- Excellent sense of balance
- Sexual Maturity: for males, 18 months; for females, 16 months Length of
- Gestation: 132-134 days
- Females are fertile for a very short period of time. Estrus period ranges
from March to July.
- The onset of the mating season is usually mid-April to early May.
- Births generally occur in early autumn
- Litter size: 1 infant per female, twins rarely occur
- Interbirth interval: 1 year
- Infants weigh 1.4-2.8 oz at birth
- 30-50% infant mortality within ft first year Pairs crowd close together in
- Infants carried by females for 6 months
- Infants carried on the mom's belly for 1-2 weeks, then on her back for 1-2
- Infants walk around 4 weeks, return to mother only to sleep and eat
- Relationships between mothers and daughters last throughout life, sons
eventually go off to other groups
- The young are raised by the entire group
Fairbanks, Lynn A. and Michael E. Pereira. Juvenile Primates. New York:
Oxford Universfty Press. 1993.
Ganzhem, Jorg U. and Peter M. Keppler, ed. Lemur Social Systems and their
Ecological Basis. New York: Pienum Pmw. 1993.
Grzimek's EncycAoWia of Mammals, Vol. 2. St Louis: McGraw-Hill Publishing Go.
Sanderson, Ivan T. The Monkey Kingdom. Philadelphia: Chilton Books. 1963.
Sussman, Robert W. and Ian Tattlesall, ed. Lemur Biology. New York: Plenum
Watts, Elizabeth S. Biology of the Living Ptimates. Dubuque: Brown Company