Ring-tailed Lemur

Lemur catta

Ring-tailed lemurs are endemic to Madagascar, living nowhere else in the world. They live in a range of habitats from dry to gallery forests, brush and scrub, spending most of their time in the mid-canopy and on the ground.

Ring-tailed lemurs are unmistakable due to their long, vividly striped tail with 13 alternating black and white stripes. When ring-tailed troops travel throughout their home range, they keep their tails raised in the air, like flags, to keep group members together.

Ring-tailed lemurs live in social groups ranging in size from 3 to 25 individuals. Both sexes live in the troop and it is led by a dominant female.

Ring-tailed lemurs will gather in open areas of the forest to sunbathe. They sit in a “yoga position” with their bellies toward the sun and their arms and legs stretched out to the sides. This position maximises the exposure of the less densely covered underside of the lemurs to the sun, warming them up before they forage.

Male ring-tailed lemurs fight for dominance by trying to out-stink each other during mating season. They cover their long tails in smelly secretions and waft them in the air to determine who is more dominant.

Ring-tailed lemur diet is different to other lemur species due to the amount of time they spend on the ground. They mostly eat fruit and leaves, favouring the leaves of the tamarind tree. Ring-tailed lemurs will also eat bark, flowers, small insects and tree sap.

Ring-tailed lemurs are classified by the IUCN Red list as Endangered. Their preferred habitat is already severely restricted to southern Madagascar and recent droughts over the past decades has caused increased pressure.

Ring-tailed lemurs face many threats in Madagascar, including logging, hunting, livestock farming and the local pet trade.

Our ring-tailed lemurs at Fife Zoo are a bachelor troop of related males and are part of the European Ex-Situ Programme, or EEP managed by EAZA.

HABITAT

Ring-tailed lemurs live in a range of habitats from dry to gallery forests, brush and scrub in southern Madagascar.

DIET

Ring-tailed lemurs are primarily herbivores, feeding mainly on leaves, flowers, fruits and nectar.

THREATS

Ring-tailed lemurs have a number of threats, including agriculture, logging, habitat loss and climate change.

CONSERVATION

ENDANGERED

They are severely isolated, and have significant, persistent threats including loss of habitat and over exploitation.

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