The ring-tailed lemur is the best known of all lemur species, notorious for its black and white striped tail. The tail is used as a flag as the lemurs walk, held aloft so others can see. It is also used in 'stink fights' where the animals rub their tails against scent glands on their arms and wave them over their heads at their opponent. This suggests that smell is an important way of communicating for the lemurs.
The ring-tailed lemurs are very sociable creatures, living in groups from five to 30 individuals in small home ranges. The females are dominant within the groups.
The ring-tailed lemur enclosure is kindly sponsored by Redmaids' High Junior School.
Ring-tailed lemurs are herbivores. They predominantly feed on fruit. leaves and flowers, but will very occasionally eat insects too. Ring-tailed lemurs feed in trees, jumping from branch to branch to avoid the sharp spines, and also forage on the ground.
In the wild these lemurs live in tropical dry forest and scrub forest in south and southwest Madagascar. The areas can get very cold at night, so the lemurs warm up by basking in the morning sun, often sitting in a yoga-like position.
This species of lemur is classified as Endangered. Their forest habitat is being destroyed for slash and burn agriculture, charcoal production and mining for gemstones and minerals. They are also threatened by predators and human hunting.
Our ring-tailed lemurs share the Lemur Walkthrough with a smaller group of crowned lemurs. Ring-tailed lemurs love sunbathing and will line up next to each other to sunbathe together, while they'll cuddle up tightly together in colder weather.
You can find our ring-tailed lemurs in Monkey Jungle and in the Lemur Walkthrough (closed during winter months)
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