The ring-tailed lemur is native to southern and southwestern Madagascar, which is an island 250 miles off the coast of Eastern Africa. They are in the suborder of primates called strepsirrhine primates.
Ring-tailed lemurs have 13 black and white bands on their tail. The tail can be 2 feet long and their body 1-1/2 feet long, so the tail is longer than their body. On average, they weigh 5-7 pounds with males usually being larger. Their tail is not prehensile and is used for balance and communication. They have very thick, dense fur.
Ring-tailed lemurs can live for 20-25 years.
A group of lemurs is called a troop. They live in troops of up to 30, but 13-15 is the average troop size. The leader of the troop is always a female.
They love to sunbathe in the morning. They will sit upright facing the sun in a position similar to the lotus position while they warm up.
Ring-tailed lemurs are considered semi-terrestrial and spend about a third of their time on the ground which is more than other lemur species.
They are one of the most vocal primates and they also use their sense of smell for communication. They have scent glands on their wrists and chest that they use to mark their territory. During breeding season, males will have stink wars. They will mark their scent on their tail and wave their stinky tail in the air in an effort to out stink their opponent.
Ring-tailed lemurs are omnivores. Their favorite food is fruit and leaves from the tamarind tree. They will also eat flowers, herbs, insects, bark, sap, small birds, and chameleons.
They are listed as endangered due to habitat destruction, hunting for bush meat, and the exotic pet trade. Some predators they have to worry about include the fossa (a cat-like animal), Madagascar harrier-hawk, Madagascar buzzard, Madagascar ground boa, as well as domestic cats and dogs.
Here’s a quick video from National Geographic: