© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
Ring-tailed lemurs can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, pretty close to the entrance to It’s Tough To Be A Bug. I enjoy watching these guys. To me, they look like an odd mixture between a fox (pointy face), a raccoon (rings on the tail) and a spider monkey (general shape of body). I’ve done some reading about them and here are the FUNky facts I’ve discovered
1) Ring-tailed lemurs are in fact primates, so they are related to all sorts of monkeys as well as to humans. However, they are not of the simian order of primate; they are what’s known as Strepsirrhine primates, typically regarded as less intelligent than simians (although, that has recently been debated). There are several different kinds of lemur, and all of them hail from Madagascar.
2) Ring-tailed lemurs like to sunbathe, and are often found doing so sitting up in the Lotus position. The sunbathing is to warm themselves during the day, but at night they sleep all piled up with one another to share warmth. Such a sleeping pile is called a “lemur ball”. They are usually found moving about on all-fours (quadrupedal), but are also capable of standing on hind legs for short periods. Whenever I’ve seen one walking around, they’ve usually sort of stalked along, similar to a cat or a raccoon.
3) While most lemurs are nocturnal, the ring-tailed lemur is dirunal – like (most!) humans, they are awake during the day and asleep at night. They are very social and live together in troops of about 30. The most lemurs I’ve seen at Disney is two, and I often wonder if they miss living in a big troop, and what Disney does for them to help compensate for socializing with the troop. I hope to remember to ask around next time I’m there.
4) Ring-tailed lemur troops are female-dominant. This is true of all types of lemurs. The hierarchy of females in the troop is not inherited; you don’t get to be the top mama lemur just because your mother was.
5) Lemurs have scent glands that they use to mark territory, and sometimes they even have stink fights with other lemurs. They soak their tails in “stink” from their scent glands and wave them at the opponent. I have to admit that I giggled when I read this. In my head, I heard the voice of the French soldiers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail – “Hah, I stink in your general direction!” 😀
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