8 Lemur Facts for Kids
1. The lemur is a primate. There are five different families of lemurs with over 100 recognized species. The most recognizable is the ring tailed lemur. The lemur is native to the island of Madagascar. They are known on the island as Hira or Makey. They weigh about 5 pounds on average but some species can get as large as 20 lbs while others can weigh as little as an ounce (mouse lemurs).
2. They have long tails that they use as a fifth appendage to hang from trees and stabilize themselves as the eat. Like other primates they have nails instead of claws. They also have extra digits on their hands and feet however their brain body ratio is not like that of the chimpanzee or other primates. Their brain is smaller.
3. The larger species of Lemurs live in groups of up to 17 members. They are very social animals and depend on each other for survival. They are also very vocal animals and make a lot of noise. They communicate with each other and other “troops” of Lemurs.
4. They can be territorial animals so their communication skills need to be on point. They “howl” to let other troops no where they are so that they do not encroach on their territory. The behavior of the Lemur varies greatly from one species to the next and that varied behavior helps to identify the various species.
5. The Mouse Lemur is not quite as social they do live in groups but they are much smaller with maybe 10 members or less. The Bamboo Lemur is another species of lemur that lives in a group but it is smaller than the larger lemurs groups they live in groups of 4-6. Scientists believe that the availability of food will dictate how large a group a particular species chooses to live in.
Lifestyle and Diets
6. Lemurs are pretty adaptable as a whole. There are nocturnal lemurs and doctrinal lemurs. There are vegetarian lemurs and there are omnivore lemurs. The nocturnal lemurs are typically omnivores and have large yellow eyes that allow them to see at night.
7. The doctrinal lemurs are typically the herbivores and are usually larger. Like all primates they are opportunists whether they are primarily herbivores or omnivores if they are hungry and there is something to eat they go for it.
8. Regardless of their size or their day/night orientation Lemurs have been known to eat when hungry, insects, vegetation even small crustaceans.