Two species of lemurs now live at the zoo, the black-and-white-ruffed lemur and the ring-tailed lemur. As you visit, watch for their big-eyed attention to their environment and each other. They’re intensely curious, and they may turn their intense gaze on you, too.
With their forward-facing eyes and long snouts, lemurs look like foxes. They’re actually prosimians, a suborder of the primate family with wet noses and a keen sense of smell.
There are more than 100 known species of lemur, from the tiny 2 ½-inch pygmy mouse lemur to the 2 ½-feet-tall indri. They are found in only place on Earth: Madagascar and the nearby Comoro Islands. Because of deforestation, habitat loss and poaching, lemurs are one of the most endangered mammal groups in the world.
You can’t miss the black-and-white ruffed lemurs. They live in the treetops of the rainforest of eastern Madagascar. They leap from tree to tree and often hang by their feet to reach ripe fruit or nectar from tree flowers. Like all lemurs, they live in groups, and roar or squawk a warning to each other when they see a predator.
Ring-tailed lemurs are grey, with 13 rings on their long tails. They live in the dry forests of southwestern Madagascar. They forage in the trees and on the ground for leaves, fruit, flowers, insects and small animals. “Mobs” of up to 35 of them travel with their tails straight up in the air like flags to keep the group members together.