Ring-tailed Lemur

Ring-tailed Lemur

Lemur catta

About This Animal

SIZE: 15-18 inches tall; up to 5.5 pounds

RANGE: South and Southwestern Madagascar (endemic species)

HABITAT: spiny forest (hot, dry, least hospitable); gallery forest (tropical dry forest)

DIET: fruit, leaves, flowers, bark, sap, occasional invertebrates

ON EXHIBIT: Lemur Forest

This is the most recognizable lemur species with its black and white ringed tail. Naturally found only on the island of Madagascar, it is diurnal - meaning that it is mostly active in the daylight hours. Lemurs are highly social and typically live in female-dominated groups of up to 30 individuals. Social bonds are very important and groups often huddle together. This species also enjoys sun-bathing, sitting upright with the underside facing the sun. Highly territorial, males employ a unique scent marking behavior called spur marking, using special spurs on their wrists to scrape trees and embed their own scent.  

The Ring-tailed Lemur is endangered - largely due to habitat loss and fragmentation as well as the illegal pet trade. Slash-and-burn agriculture in their natural habitat, known as “tavy”, and the cutting and burning of forests for charcoal is the main cause of habitat loss. They are also very prevalent in the pet trade and are under heavy poaching threats.