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Ring-tailed lemur

Lemur catta

Yes, the famous one!

The ring-tailed lemur is one of the most iconic species of lemur. Their black and white ringed tail is longer than their body. Ring-tailed lemurs spend the most time on the ground of any lemurs, although they still move nimbly through the trees.

About the Species

Ring-tailed lemurs live in large groups called troops, with sometimes over 25 inviduals in the troop.

In these troops, a dominant female resides over the whole group. The troop consists of males and females, with a well-defined hierarchy between all the members. Ring-tailed lemurs, like all lemurs, are very social, and bonds are formed and strengthened through grooming one another. Ring-tailed lemurs rely heavily on scent marking for communicating. Males have scents on their wrists, which they use to rub on trees. During the breeding season, males compete for females by rubbing their tail with their wrist scent gland, and then wafting their tail towards their competitor. The winner of the "stink fight" is then able to mate with females. Females usually give birth to only one young ring-tailed lemur at a time, who clings to the mother. Females usually stay within the troop they were born, while males will leave after reaching maturity and find a new troop to belong to. The ring-tailed lemur easily adapts to many environments, able to even live in rocky areas. Ring-tailed lemurs are under threat from habitat destruction, as well as pressures from the pet trade.

Words From the Experts


Ring-tailed lemurs are what most people think of when they hear the word lemur, but there are at least 100 different species of lemur alive today, a majority of which are endangered.



Did You Know?

Ring-tailed lemurs sun themselves in a yoga-like pose, sitting on their behind and spreading their limbs to sun their bellies.


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South and Southwest Madagascar

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Spiny and lowland forests

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2 kg | 100 cm. long (including tail)

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Fruit, leaves, flowers, bark, sap

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Fossa, birds of prey

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Natural Defenses

Warning calls, travel in large groups

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130 days; one per litter

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Life Expectancy

Between 18-20 years

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