of Lemurs (Prosimians)
The Lemurs of Madagascar are one of the most critically endangered and one of
the oldest species on Earth. This
WORLD currently features three species/subspecies of Lemurs.
Common Name: Ring Tailed Lemur
Genus/Species: Lemur catta
The island of Madagascar.
The ring-tailed lemur dwells in both the dry forest area in southern Madagascar
and the wet forests of west Madagascar.
Physical appearance may slightly vary depending on geographic area. Ring-tailed lemurs are perhaps the most easily recognized of all the lemur
species. They are quadrupedal with a tendency toward climbing and leaping.
Lemurs can walk or hop a few steps bipedally. Their tail is used for balance
when moving among horizontal branches. The ring-tailed is the least agile of
lemurs, particularly among small branches. The lemur's thumb is
pseudo-opposable. Their whole hand is used to grip, between finger-tips and
proximal pads. The hand is hook-like and inaccurate with small objects. Digits
have flat nails except for the
second toe which has a long claw used for self-grooming. Procumbent lower
incisors and canines form a dental comb used in all grooming.
The ring-tails nose is naked and moist, vibrissae (long, stiff hairs projecting
from the nose) are present. When resting, the ring-tail assumes a sitting
position with back supported. Sleeping posture is semi-erect with head between
knees, hands gripping branch and tail wrapped around body. Scent glands are on
both upper and forearms; and are much more developed in males.
Gestation is 120 - 135 days. They have a single young which is carried on the
mother's stomach for 2 weeks until
able to cling to her back. Independent at 6 months. Sexually mature at 18
months. Average lifespan 7 years.
STATUS in Natural Habitat:
Male ring-tailed lemurs have stink fights.
They rub their tail on their arm scent glands, then arch tail over their
head so the smell is wafted toward the opponent.
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