Of all the lemurs, Ring-tails spend the most time on the ground. They get their name from the black and white bands on the tail, which is used for communication.
Interesting fact: Males have “stink fights” by covering their tails in scent from their wrist glands and wafting them at each other!
Living in the drier regions of southern Madagascar the Ring-tailed lemur inhabits a varied range from gallery forests to dry spiny scrub. These habitats are under pressure in southern Madagascar and continue to decrease in size due to annual burning practices that help create new pasture for livestock.
A mixture of fruits, leaves, flowers and sap. During much of the year up to 50% of their diet is from the Tamarind tree. They are known to eat bark, earth and even spiders' webs particularly in the dry season when food is scarce.
Breeding and social dynamics
A group of Ring-tails is known as a troop and can number up to 30 animals lead by one dominant female. The troop sleep grouped in a tight huddle, this improves social bonds and is also good protection. Females are receptive for only 24 hours once a year and usually have a single baby after a gestation period of about 145 days. Occasionally twins are born. At first infants cling underneath the mother, riding on her back when they are older.
Part of a managed European breeding programme.