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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Leaping Lemurs!

So, as promised, here are the photos from my lemur encounter at Linton Zoo. If you happen to be near there any time in the future, it comes highly recommended!
This is one of the Mongoose Lemurs, who was so determined to get to the food bowl that he wasn't shy about using a passing human to reach his goal! Lemurs are named after the lemures (ghosts or spirits) of Roman mythology due to the ghostly vocalizations, reflective eyes, and the nocturnal habits of some species. I was curious about their weight - I've had a chinchilla as a pet and they're very light, more fur than flesh. The Mongoose lemur is smaller than the Red Ruffed and probably weighs in about the same as a fully grown kitten/young cat.
This is Ruby, a Red Ruffed Lemur and my favourite. Ruby and her son Charlie (see the picture below) were the only ones who would consent to be petted. The fur is amazing! I thought it would be like a cat's, but it's much denser, more like sheep's wool and yet very soft.
Charlie
That's carrot he's munching on by the way. Apparently their favourite food is banana and grapes, but too much fruit makes them overweight.
Their 'paws' are hand-like - the palms are bare skin (and a bit chilly from the feel of it!) with nails rather than claws. Ruffed Lemurs actually build nests for their young and can have up to six at a time - the only species of lemur that does this instead of carrying their young around. One parent remains at the nest while the other forages.
One of the Crowned Lemurs didn't care who or what she had to climb over for her stick of carrot. You can't get much closer than that! Did you know that in Madagascar, the poorer people eat lemurs? They make a cheap and easy meal because the tourists tame them. :(
Both the Crowned and the Mongoose Lemurs are classed as Vulnerable. The Red Ruffed is classed as Endangered. The lemurs aren't being killed directly. Human beings destroy the rainforests that lemurs need to survive. I find it sad that pure human greed is pushing this animals toward the risk of extinction.I'd love to see them in Madagascar one day, and I hope that in the future we won't all be reduced to seeing them just at a zoo because there are no longer any left in the wild.
Mongoose Lemurs.Baby Tia with her mum.

Crowned Lemurs. The one on the left is the female. Males have paler faces and less of the red hair.

A handful of lemur!

Ruby isn't too sure about that stick of parsnip.
Family portrait - baby Tia and parents.

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