Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)

Ring tailed lemur

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At Lemur Loop near the giraffes.

Fast facts

Status Endangered

Size Head-body: 39-46cm; tail length: 56-63cm

Weight 2-2.2kg

Gestation 138-141 days

Young 1

Life span Up to 33 years

What do I eat?

Ring-tailed lemurs eat fruit, leaves, flowers, herbs, bark and sap from a wide variety of plant species. They will also eat rotten wood, earth, insects, and small vertebrates. 

Where do I live?

Ring-tailed lemurs live in southern and south-western Madagascar. They live in a wide variety of habitats, including dry deciduous forests, forests that are next to water, and brush and scrub. They are adaptable enough to be able to live in both the hottest and driest, and the coldest areas of Madagascar.


Female lemurs usually give birth for the first time at around 3 years old, and then produce offspring every year. Normally one infant is born, but sometimes twins occur. The young are carried on the mother’s front for the first week or two, and after that ride on the backs of their mothers and other group members.  All the adult females in a group will help to care for the infants. The young are weaned at 3 months, and will be completely independent by the time they are 6 months old.


Ring-tailed lemurs are known to be hunted by fossas, civets, Madagascar harrier-hawks, Madagascar buzzards, Madagascar ground boas, and domestic cats and dogs.


Ring-tailed lemurs are threatened by habitat loss and hunting for food as well as being captured for the pet trade. They are also threatened by an increase in the number of droughts that occur in parts of their range.

Ring-tailed lemurs are found in a number of protected areas including national parks and special reserves. They are also included on CITES Appendix I, which means that international trade of this lemur and its parts is prohibited.

Did you know?

Ring-tailed lemurs usually live in groups of 6-24 individuals, but groups of over 30 have been known.

Males perform ritual “stink fights”! They use glands on their wrists and shoulders to mark their tails, which they then wave at each other. These fights can last up to an hour!

During the breeding season, males compete for females in “jump fights”. They leap into the air, trying to slash each other with their upper canines, often causing nasty wounds.


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Animal Experiences

Giraffe experience

Amazing day at Marwell zoo, topped by feeding the giraffes. Husband and I fed 7 giraffes by hand. I got sneezed on by kwame, the large male - brilliant!! Loved little Ruby. Very hands on. Not rushed at all. Thank you Megan, for making this an amazing experience for us both…Cathryn, 4th February 2016