- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Ring-Tailed Lemur

Ring-Tailed Lemur Facts

Size Up to 18 inch (45 cm); tail up to 24 inch (60 cm)
Speed Up to 12 mph (20 km/h)
Weight Up to 6.6 lb (3 kg)
Lifespan 10-14 years
Food Fruits, leaves, flowers
Predators Birds of prey, wild dogs
Habitat Madagascar
Order Primates
Family Lemuridae
Scientific name Lemur catta
Characteristics Long, black and white tail

Main Characteristics

If we talk about lemurs, which mostly also remind us of movies such as „Madagascar“, we refer to a particular species of lemurs called ring-tailed lemurs. In total, there are nearly 100 different species of lemurs. The color of their fur can be grey, brown, white and black, but also red.

The following animal profile is about the well-known and popular ring-tailed lemurs. The special characteristic of ring-tailed lemurs is their black and white striped tail and their face, which resembles a ghost with dark rimmed, yellow eyes and white fur markings.

Ring-tailed Lemur Ring-Tailed Lemur - Photo: Eric Gevaert/Shutterstock


Lemur Females Rule

In the communities of ring-tailed lemurs the females have the say. Not because they are larger or stronger, as there is not much difference between male and female lemurs in this respect. Apart from the lemurs, hyenas and meerkats are the only mammals that rely on female power.

Lemur Stink Fights

Yes. It is really called “stink fight”. Yes, it really does smell very badly. Lemurs put their tail under their armpits, so that the bad smell sticks to it. Then they eagerly wag their tail in the direction of their opponent. The lemur that cannot stand the smell any longer and makes his escape has lost the fight. Imagine someone take off his shirt, put it under his armpits and hold it under your nose ...

Lemur Lemur - Photo: Jearu/Shutterstock

Lemurs Enjoy Sunbathing

When the sun rises and the first warming beams of sunlight touch the earth, the ring-tailed lemurs love to enjoy a good sunbath. They do not simply lie down on their backs or their tummies ... no, they prefer the lotus position. They sit on the ground, spread their arms and cross their legs if they feel like it. Yet, nobody has ever heard them hum a mantra.

Lemurs Use Their Tails for Communication

On the ground, the ring-tailed lemurs hold their tails upright like flags. This is their way to say: “Here am I!” ...

Lemur Lemur - Photo: Jearu/Shutterstock


135 days after mating, the female lemur gives birth to a baby. During the first few weeks, the little one clings to the fur of its mother. After about eight weeks it can eat solid food and after five months it can take care of itself.

Fun Facts

What Does the Name Lemur Mean?

The term “lemur“ originates from the Latin word for “ghosts“. The natives of Madagascar really thought that their ancestors lived on as ghosts in these little primates.

Lemurs in Madagascar

In the movie Madagascar there is the little ring-tailed lemur named Julien, but there are mouse lemurs, too. For example Mort. There is also an aye-aye named Maurice. Aye-ayes are closely related to lemurs and form a “sister group” to lemurs. They have the same ancestors.

Lemurs as Pets?

Find out more information on this topic in the article Lemurs as Pets.

The Ring-Tailed Lemur Is Related To:

  • Aye-Aye
  • Slow Lori

Animals in the Same Biome:

Lemur Lemur - Photo: l i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock


Pupils are welcome to use this information at school for animal profiles, fact sheets, essays, work sheets, presentations, posters or homework. All information appearing on this site has been precisely and thoroughly researched, nevertheless should you notice any errors, please do notify us via email.

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