The lemur inhabits gallery forests to spiny scrub in the southern regions of the island of Madagascar. It is omnivorous (eats everything!) and the most land-based of lemurs. The animal is diurnal, being active exclusively in daylight hours.
The ring-tailed lemur is highly social, living in groups of up to 30 individuals. It is also female dominant, a trait common among lemurs. To keep warm and reaffirm social bonds, groups will huddle together forming a lemur ball.
Lemurs have awesome (and sometimes freaky looking!) eyes check out this well known video clip:
The ring-tailed lemur will also sunbathe, sitting upright facing its underside, with its thinner white fur towards the sun. Like other lemurs, this species relies strongly on its sense of smell and marks its territory with scent glands. The males perform a unique scent marking behaviour called spur marking and will participate in stink fights by impregnating their tail with their scent and wafting it at opponents.
As one of the most vocal primates, the ring-tailed lemur utilises numerous vocalisations including group cohesion and alarm calls. Experiments have shown that the ring-tailed lemur, despite the lack of a large brain, can organise sequences and preferentially select tools based on functional qualities.
Despite being listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List and suffering from habitat destruction, the ring-tailed lemur is kept in captivity and great numbers worldwide and reproduces readily. Surely a release program would be a good idea…..???
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