Most of us are herbivores and eat leaves, fruits and flowers. Our favorite food is tamarind leaves. Some of my friends eat the bark of trees, mud, insects, spider webs, etc. Ugh!
I like to eat that sticky yummy sap from cactus plants which is rich in fat. We even fight for it.
We do not pluck plants for our food but pull them towards our mouth and eat them. We drink dew or rain water on leaves and tree hollows. We have a second smaller tongue to remove dirt from our teeth and we clean ourselves after eating.
Baby ring-tailed lemurs are called pups. Their eyes are blue and turn bright yellow when they grow up. Mother lemurs carry their pups on the front or back until they grow strong.
When we fight in the group we stand up on our legs, balance and attack rivals. Females are stronger and in fights between males and females, she always wins!
Hey, look at me.. don’t you think I look really cute with my white face and black wet nose, ears with small hair and a white tummy? My eyes are bright yellow color with dark triangle-shaped eye patches. My head, neck, back and limbs are all in light or dark shades of gray. Some of my friends have rosy brown backs too. My palms are leather-like and my legs have opposable thumbs to hold things.
The length of our head and body together is 15 – 18 inches (38 – 45.7 cm). Our tail is up to 2 feet long and we weigh about 2.5 to 3 kilograms (5.5 to 6.6 pounds).
We belong to the genus Lemur and our scientific name is Lemur catta as we look like cats. Though we are related to monkeys and apes, we are neither cats nor monkeys. We are wet-nosed primates.
We are diurnal – active during the day and asleep at night. We move around on all four limbs (quadruped) both on land and on trees. But we love to walk on the ground. iii
We meet in open areas of the forest to sunbath sitting in a lotus yoga position with our arms and legs stretched out and bellies facing the sun. We enjoy sunbathing in groups as we are very social.
We are noisy and can make 22 or more sounds like purrs, clicks, grunts, howls, hmms, moans, meows, and chirps for communication. We mark our territories using our scent.
We use voices and smells to communicate.
We are not considered clever by humans but we are known for our skills in maths as we can count, add, subtract and line up objects in order from memory.
We travel in troops of 20 to 30 and keep our ringed tails up in the air like flags with a curl at the tip which is always black. This is a signal to our troops to stay together.
We often huddle together to form a “lemur ball”. This helps to keep ourselves warm and safe.
Loss of our natural habitat by cutting down of trees, predators like fossa (a cat like animal) and hawks, illegal pet trade and hunting for our meat and fur, sudden and severe weather changes etc. are some of the many reasons that bring down our numbers.
QR Book Ring Tailed lemur