Ring-tailed Lemur

LEMUR CATTA

Ring-tailed Lemurs at the Brandywine ZooThe Brandywine Zoo has four related male lemurs: Bran, Jamie, Khal, and Tyrion. Yes, they are named after characters from the iconic show Game of Thrones, based on the G.R.R. Martin books A Song of Fire and Ice! Bran and Jamie are fraternal twins, and they share the same father as Khal and Tyrion. All boys were born in March, 2018 at the Bronx Zoo. They arrived from the Bronx Zoo in October, 2020, and currently live as a bachelor group – meaning its just boys in this troop!

HABITAT
Continuous canopy forests, bush and scrub forests (‘spiny forest’), and mixed forests.

GEOGRAPHIC REGION AND RANGE
Lemurs are only found in Madagascar. Ring-tailed lemurs live in the Southern and Southwestern areas of the island.

DIET
Fruits, leaves, flowers, seeds, sap, invertebrates, small vertebrates, dirt from termite mounds, etc.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Grey body with white bellies faces with a black “mask.” Their tail has 13 alternating bands of black and white.

SIZE
Body: 39-46 cm, Tail: 56-63 cm Total Length: 95-109 cm (roughly 3.5-3 feet)

WEIGHT
About 2.2 Kg (about 4.85 pounds)

LIFESPAN
Wild: 19 years
Under Human Care: Longer in human care

THREATS
Ring-tailed lemur populations have declined more than 95% since 2000. They are threatened by deforestation-caused by agriculture, mainly slash-and-burn- and additionally from hunting for bushmeat, and the pet trade. Madagascar is an extremely impoverished country with many humanitarian issues which make wildlife conservation a challenge unless these issues are also addressed.

STATUS
Endangered

REPRODUCTION
They have 1 infant at a time, but occasionally twins. Gestation lasts about 4.5 months.

BEHAVIOR
• When traveling in groups, they keep their tails raised, like flags, to keep group members together.
• They love to sunbathe, and will often sit reclined with bellies pointed toward the sun to absorb its rays!

SOCIAL STRUCTURE
• Ring-tails live in groups called troops or mobs.
• They have been found in groups as few as 6 an d as many as 35!Unlike most primate societies, lemurs are matriarchal, meaning the troop is led by the highest ranked female.

COMMUNICATION
They communicate using scent glands on their wrists and chest that they use to mark their foraging routes. They also have one on their tail that leaves a smells behind to mark where they’ve
been. Males even get into “stink fights” to claim territory!Also communicate through facial expressions, body language, and calls.

FUN FACTS

Ring-tailed lemurs are the most terrestrial of all lemur species, spending sometimes as much as 40-50% of their time on the ground

Unlike most other primates, lemurs are matriarchal- this means they live in female-dominate societies.

Ring-tailed lemurs live in some of the largest social groups of all lemurs, sometimes up to 30-35 individuals in an extended family!

Males and females look almost identical, and both weigh in at an average of around 5 pounds!

Maki is the word for lemur in Malagasy

What are AZA Zoos doing for Ring-tailed Lemurs?

Their zoo population is managed through conservation breeding programs called Species Survival Plan programs, which ensures genetic diversity and species health. There are over 500 individuals ring-tailed lemurs at 100+ AZA-accredited facilities. AZA zoos fund and participate in field research focusing on the ecology of lemurs in Madagascar, the health of wild populations, genetics, training local residents in lemur protection strategies, and partnering with conservation organizations.

Ring-tailed Lemur at the Brandywine Zoo by Mark Pyle

More images of our Ring-tailed Lemur