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Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding

Diet & Feeding


  • Fruit, leaves, and flowers most commonly
    • Also consume seeds, bark, and sap
  • Kily tree (Tamarindus indica) pods
    • Especially favored food item
      • May dedicate c. 50% of forage time to securing fruit and leaves, in regions where the plant is present (Mittermeier et al. 2010)
    • Individuals lick the slightly fermented pulp of fallen pods and quarrel for possession of them
  • Diversity of diet
    • Consume products of up to 50 plant species
      • E.g. figs, bananas, fig thistles, grasses, and ground plants
      • Eat a wider variety of plants than other lemurs
      • Raid melon and sweet potato crops
    • Also seen consuming earth, invertebrates, dead wood

Feeding & Drinking

  • Hands and mouth secure food
    • Do not "pluck" food with the hands
      • Hands pull plant toward the mouth
  • Other feeding behavior
    • In trees
      • Occupy the small twig areas of trees
    • On the ground
      • Often sit on their haunches, like a squirrel
  • Obtaining water
    • Dew or rain on leaves or in tree hollows provide water
    • Descend to drink from the ground if unavailable in trees
      • Remain under cover when possible

Vegetarian Diet

Ring-tailed lemur eating leaves

Ring-tailed lemurs are herbivores, eating principally fruit, leaves, and flowers.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.
All rights reserved.

Page Citations

Mittermeier et al. 2010)
Sauther (2002)
Sauther et al. (1999)
Sussman (1999)
Taterssall and Sussman (1975)

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