Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ring-tailed Lemur

Always walks with its tail in the air...

The ring-tailed lemur (more exotically known as "maki catta") is one of the most fascinating lemurs on the island of Madagascar.  Unlike its fellow lemurs, the ring-tailed lemur has partially abandoned a tree-dwelling existence for a terrestrial one - preferring to stay on the ground and walk around with its long tail permanently held erect like a staff.  These attractive creatures are diurnal and love to bask in the sun whenever possible.

A group of ring-tailed lemurs, with their wonderful black & white tails, is not a sight one quickly forgets.  They are sociable animals, living in groups of 15 to 20 individuals on average, and are very energetic - rarely still during the day.  They are very inquisitive, as well, and examine everything they encounter during their travels (sounds about as curious as a cat).

Being primarily vegetarians, they eat the fruit, flowers, buds and leaves of certain trees, though they also catch lizards and insects when they can, and eat 'em while sitting on their rumps with their tails vertical against their backs.  This little critter is also very skillful with its hands, like most monkeys.  They are just as agile in the trees as on the ground, jumping gaps several yards wide between one branch to another while moving with such speed that it's difficult to keep pace with them in the forest undergrowth.
As one of the most vocal primates, the ring-tailed lemur uses numerous vocalizations including group cohesion and alarm calls. Experiments have shown that the ring-tailed lemur, despite the lack of a large brain, can organize sequences, understand basic arithmetic operations and preferentially select tools based on functional qualities.

The ring-tailed lemur, being very timid, scares easily.  When frightened, they immediately dash up a tree for safety, and watch the object of their fear from high up in the tree.  Unfortunately, though, many folks think they make for great eating and are therefore intensively hunted by the natives of Madagascar.  These little creative monkeys typically live 16 to 19 years in the wild and up to 27 years in captivity.  Check out the image below:

---------Image Credit:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Lemuridae

Related Link:  "Images of the freaky Lemur - Aye-Aye"

---End of Post "Ring-tailed Lemur"

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