Ring-tailed lemurs are the most easily recognisable of all the lemur species, they're the only ones to have a long, bushy and black-and-white striped tail. Spending more time in open spaces than the other lemurs of Madagascar, ring-tailed lemurs are also very sociable and groups will soak up the early morning sun together, sitting cross-legged in a yoga position. Females share the parental duties in crèches.
Scientific name: Lemur catta
Rival groups of lemurs fight over territory, with babies in tow.
After a four month pregnancy, the babies are born in spring. They’re gentle mothers and though they usually only have one baby, this one has twins. Families are very affectionate and stick by each other in times of need. Then these mothers show a very different side to their personality. If there’s a conflict between the groups, it’s the females that lead the charge. And these little babies go to the front line with them. They are going on patrol to protect their patch and the babies had better hang on tight. There’s an air of solidarity and purpose. Their boundaries are clear-cut, but the neighbours have been trespassing. The battle lines are drawn. It gets more and more ferocious and the babies have to cling on for dear life. If they fall they’ll be surrounded by the enemy and probably won’t survive. Very few animals gang-up like this and go to war to protect their food, but it‘s something that we can easily identify with. One final skirmish and the boundaries are secure. It seems to be all over now and thanks to their strong grip, none of the babies were hurt. They all managed to escape the battle without injury. And now that the group have protected their supply of food, they can get on with the business of eating, tucking into their favourite - the tamarind pods.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The Ring-tailed lemur can be found in a number of locations including: Madagascar. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Ring-tailed lemur distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Population trend: Decreasing
Year assessed: 2008
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
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