Lemurs - Bright-Eyed and Bushy-tailed
The lemur family is in the order of primates and there are many species of different lemurs within this family. They are found only on the island of Madagascar and the Comoros Islands. Experts believe that of the 50 species in existence, 17 are endangered.
Lemurs come in a huge range of shapes and sizes. The largest of the species can be up to 15 lb (6.8 kg) and the smallest lemur is in fact the world’s smallest primate. The Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur weighs around 1.1 oz (30 g) and is absolutely minute. Extinct members of this species are said to have weighed up to 350-440 lb (160-200 kg). The majority of lemurs have long pointed noses.
Like all other animals in the order of primates, lemurs have five nailed digits on each of their hands and feet. The majority also share the characteristic wet nose of other primates. They use their sense of smell to communicate as they have scent glands on the behinds and feet, meaning they can leave an odor on any surface they pass. The majority of this species have large bushy tails which they also use for communication, by waving them in the air. Their tails also help in maintaining balance when jumping from tree to tree.
The lemurs’ habitat is generally amongst the trees. Some live in tropical rainforests whereas others prefer dry desert areas. They are an arboreal species (they spend most of their time in trees/bushes) and there are both nocturnal and diurnal groups within this family. The diurnal tends to be quite social species and live in large groups whereas the nocturnal tend to be solitary.
Lemurs are essentially a vegetarian animal family feasting mainly on fruit and leaves. Occasionally they may eat smaller animals and insects but they usually stick to the veggies. The lifespan of most species is around eighteen years and like many other primates, the young lemurs are carried around by their mothers. Initially they’ll be kept in their mother’s mouths until they develop the ability to grip and hang onto her fur themselves.
The lemur family is a quirky and attractive primate order who needs to be closely monitored to ensure those species that are endangered don’t die out completely!