Southern and southwestern Madagascar and a small population on the southeastern plateau of the Andringita Mountains
They prefer Gallery forests and Euphorbia Bush habitat, but they also live in many other types of forests. In the Berenty Reserve in southern Madagascar, Ring tailed lemurs inhabit 3 different types of forest: the Ankoba Forest with Pithosolobium trees and a few tamarinds, figs and Melia; the Malaza forest with Tamarindus indicus, tall figs, Celtis, and Creteva- the subcanopy has lots of peppers and sometimes capers; and the spiny forest with Alaudia and Euphorbia, which look like cacti.
Body length: 15-17 in; Tail length: 21-24 in; Weight: 5-8 lbs
If they are healthy and well fed they will have twins
4 - 4 1/2 months.
Herbivore: plants, leaves, flowers, fruit, even sap and bark, occasionally insects
Monkey biscuits, fruits, and vegetables
Up to 27 years.
Threatened; IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group's Lemurs of Madagascar: An Action Plan for Their Conservation gave the species a "High Priority" rating (5)
Habitat loss due to fires, overgrazing by livestock, and tree cutting for charcoal production
They have gray or rosy brown backs with lighter gray hind legs and stomach. They have a white face with black triangular markings around their eyes and black noses. They have a long tail that is black and white with a ringed pattern. They have the face of a fox and monkey-like hands and feet. They have opposable thumbs and opposable big toes.
They are social and live in groups of 3-20 individuals. The females are the dominant sex. The males will move from troop to troop during mating season.
Even though the males are submissive, they are active socially. During the mating season they will practice infanticide, which is killing the offspring of a female. Females on the other hand are usually friendly towards the offspring of other females. Groups of females switch infants, baby-sit, form play groups and even allow infants other than their own to nurse. They live in an arid habitat, so they quench their thirst with juicy fruits. They sit on their haunches holding fruit in their hands and they delicately bite off pieces with the back teeth so the juice runs into their mouths and not on the fur.
They are one of the most vocal primates. They make grunting sounds, they bark, and they purr and mew like house cats. They also use their tails for 2 types of communication. First the black and white is a striking visual signal. Second, during ritualistic fights they will rub secretions from scent glands on their arms on the tail and wave it above their opponent's head. The smelliest lemur wins.
They will wave their tails at intruders during mating season. When danger approaches they will make a loud call to alert the others. This call also maintains distance between troops.
Plants, leaves, flowers, fruit, even sap and bark, occasionally insects
When on the forest floor they move quadrupedally,
They also interact socially while feeding and sunbathing. They will sunbathe during the early morning hours before feeding. They will sit up right with their front legs resting on their hind legs, exposing their stomachs to the sun.
They are the only member of the lemur family that does not spend all of its time in the trees. In the wild, they spend about 15% of the daytime on the ground. In captivity they spend significantly more time on the ground, probably because they know they are safe.