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Greater bamboo lemur
Prolemur simus


P. simus
Photo: Tomas Junek

Group size is usually between seven and eleven individuals, although larger group sizes have been seen, up to 26 individuals (Mutschler & Tan 2003; Tan 2006; Wright et al. 2008). Large groups may be the result of habitat disturbance (Tan 1999). Groups are polygynous and may have more than one adult of both sexes (Tan 1999; Mutschler & Tan 2003). The presence or absence of territorial behavior has not been determined but within a group males may be socially dominant, especially in feeding contexts (Andriaholinirina et al. 2003; Tan 2006).

Only males disperse from their natal group, usually around 3.5 years of age (Tan 2000 cited in Tan 2006).


Greater bamboo lemurs mate in late May and June with a corresponding birth season in October and November (Tan 2000 cited Mutschler & Tan 2003; Tan 2006). Gestation in P. simus is 149 days with only single infants born each pregnancy (Tan 2000 cited in Mutschler & Tan 2003; Tan 2006). The interbirth interval is one year (Tan 2000 cited in Mutschler & Tan 2003; Tan 2006). Copulatory play begins at two years of age (Tan 2000 cited in Mutschler & Tan 2003).


Greater bamboo lemurs do not park their infants in contrast to other bamboo species and mothers carry their young all of the time in the first four months of life (Tan 2000 cited in Tan 2006; Mutschler & Tan 2003; Mittermeier et al. 2006). Most care of the infant is provided by the mother (Mutschler & Tan 2003). Infants are weaned by 8 months old but eat solid bamboo at 8 weeks old (Tan 2000 cited in Tan 2006).


Greater bamboo lemurs are highly vocal, emitting calls during aggression (36.7% of calls), submission (25.7%) and traveling (18.0%) (Bergey & Patel 2008). Seven general call types are described, including, "agitated" calls, "bahh" calls, "breathe out" calls, "contact calls," "purr" calls, "squeal" calls, and "woof" calls (Bergey & Patel 2008). Calls emitted during aggression include "agitated" calls, "breathe out" calls, and "woof" calls (Bergey & Patel 2008). "Purr" calls are common during affiliation and resting (Bergey & Patel 2008).

Tail-wagging indicates aggression (Bergey & Patel 2008).

Content last modified: July 22, 2010

Written by Kurt Gron.

Cite this page as:
Gron KJ. 2010 July 22. Primate Factsheets: Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus) Behavior . <>. Accessed 2020 July 6.