Now it's time to write about another interesting animal that Mom saw at the zoo last week. And this animal is the ring-tailed lemur. It comes from Africa, just like basenjis, but it does not look anything like a basenji. There are several kinds of lemurs, and they all live in Madagascar, which is a country that is an island on the east side of Africa. In Madagascar there are many interesting plants and animals that you can't find anyplace else, and the lemur is one of them
The ring-tailed lemur has a very long tail with black-and-white rings on it, and that is how this lemur got its name. The tail of the ring-tailed lemur looks sort of like a raccoon's tail, but there is no relationship between the lemur and the raccoon. In fact, I was surprised to learn that lemurs are primates, just like chimpanzees or humans.
A group of lemurs that live together is called a troop, sort of like the Girl Scouts, but they don't earn any merit badges or anything like that. The average size of a troop is between 13 and 15 lemurs, but sometimes there can be as many as 25 or 30 in a troop. Oh, and guess what! The females are in charge, and they make all the decisions, and the males just have to put up with it!
Sometimes lemurs get eaten by other animals. There's an animal called a fossa, which I had never heard of before, and it's native to Madagascar, and it likes to eat lemurs. Buzzards, boas, and civets also eat lemurs, and so do cats and dogs. I wish I could go to Madagascar and have a little lemur meat for lunch. I think it might be quite tasty.
Lemurs are also pretty vocal, and they do a lot of scent marking. This is how they keep track of the other members of their troop and tell rival troops to keep out of their territory.
Okay, that's all I'm going to tell you about ring-tailed lemurs. I think it might be fun to have a few around to snuggle up with, even if Mom wouldn't let me eat them for lunch.