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Ring-Tailed Lemur Care Sheet

by Tom Columbano

This lemur, like all lemurs, is native to Madagascar where they inhabit the forests of the country. They are an EXTREMELY social animal, banding together in troops which are usually extended families. They also have quite a "vocabulary" with which they communicate.

Diet

I feed my lemurs a diet of, almost exclusively, Purina Monkey Chow (soak this in water for the babies). I've found this to be the best basic diet available. I also give fruit (especially citrus). Citrus is extremely important since lemurs, like all primates, do not synthesize vitamin C. Do not feed exclusively fruits because they will not eat the monkey chow.

Caging

I strongly suggest a minimum of 8 ft x 8 ft x 8 ft. These guys like to BOUNCE AROUND a lot and use every cubic inch of their cage; so use branches that will not break or give way when they land on them. Lemurs are extremely social and will become very neurotic if they don't get lots of social contact. If you can't spend a lot of time with them, get 2 or don't get any. They also need something to do. They are quite intelligent and will "go crazy with boredom" if they don't have some "toys" to play with. Be sure to provide a den that is heated in the cold weather. Lemurs are pretty hardy and can put up with cold weather, below 40 degrees, but they are not from the Arctic Circle, they're from the rain forests.

I have found the best cage material to use is rabbit wire, 1" x 1/2" mesh. This is a strong material that will support itself and keep most small children's fingers out. Additionally, I strongly recommend raising the cage at least 2 feet above the ground to minimize parasites.

Worming

Standard worming for dogs or cats apply. Also, be sure you have a vet that knows about lemurs, an emergency is not the time to look for for one.

Vaccines

Go on the advice of a good vet who knows primates. Vaccinations depend on what is endemic to your area. You may also want to consult with your nearest zoo.

This paper is, by far, only an introduction to the care of lemurs.