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Ring-tailed Lemur
Lemur catta

Habitat: brush and scrub forests

Range: south and south-western Madagascar

Natural Diet: fruit, flowers, nectar, leaves, and buds

Status in the Wild: Endangered


Animal Facts

Ring-tailed lemurs are the only species of lemur to have scent glands on their wrists. The glands are used to mark their territory and in "stink fight" in which opponents rub their tails on the glands and wave the scented tail. Their ringed tails are used as "follow me" flags. Madagascar natives once believed that lemurs worshipped the sun because they can be seen sunbathing on a branch or log.

Many species of lemurs have become extinct. All lemurs are endangered, suffering from habitat loss as forests are converted to farmland or selectively logged. Heavily hunted and trapped by the Malagasy people as a food source, lemurs share their precarious status with many plants and animal species unique to Madagascar.

To learn more about field efforts to conserve ring-tailed lemurs, click here


These primates have rings on their tails (Photo courtesy: Scott Findley Photography)

Distributional range

Lemurs are endemic to Madagascar, the island in black to the right of Africa.