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Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) Fact Sheet, 2009   Tags: animals, fact sheets, mammals, primates, san diego zoo, sdzg, wildlife  

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) Fact Sheet, 2009

ring-tailed lemur.

Image credit: San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Describer (Year): Linnaeus (1758)

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Suborder: Prosimiae

Family: Lemuridae

Genus: Lemur

Species: L. catta

Body Weight: 2.2 kg (4.9 lb)

Body Length: 385-455 mm (15-18 in)

Tail Length: 560-624 mm (22-25 in)

Pelage: Body gray and white; black and white
ringed tail; sexes similar, minor sexual dimorphism.

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Range: Southern Madagascar

Habitat: Brush and deciduous forest

IUCN Status: Endangered; assessed in 2012

CITES Status:  Appendix 1

U.S. Fish and Wildlife: Endangered

Wild Population:  10,000-100,000

Locomotion: Quadrupedal and bipedal

Activity Cycle: Diurnal

Social Groups: 3-27; consists of females, offspring, and males.

Communication: Diverse vocal repertoire and scent-marking.

Diet: In the wild, 30+ plants eaten; primarily eat fruit and leaves. Kily tree parts are a staple. In captivity, commercial biscuits, fruits, vegetables, greens, and browse are offered.

Predators: Humans, birds of prey, snakes, cats, dogs, fossa.

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Sexual Maturity: Females c. 24 months

Gestation: 134-144 days

Litter Size: 1-3; triplets are rare

Neonate Weight: 50-80 g (1.8-2.8 oz)

Age at Weaning: 4-6 months

Feature Facts: Unusual primate characteristics are well-developed sense of smell, scent-marking behavior, numerous scent glands. Ring-tail lemurs are the most commonly exhibited lemur species. They are among the most studied lemur species.

Society Press: First exhibited at San Diego Zoo in 1938 and at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 1972.


About This Fact Sheet

© 2009 San Diego Zoo Global. Partial update in 2015.

How to cite: Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) Fact Sheet, 2009. c2009-2015. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. 
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2014 Sep 14)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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