Mongoose lemurs are the smallest species of the genus. They are 12 to 14 inches long with the tail 18 to 20 inches long. They weigh 4 to 4.5 pounds. They are woolly and the tails are bushy and gray in both sexes. Males have a gray body with red fur on the side of the body and the face. Males have white beards when they are born that turn red as they grow older. Females are darker gray than males and they have white fur on the sides of the body and face.
Class: Mammal (Mammalia)
Range: Northwest Madagascar, Commoro Islands
Habitat: Moist forests, canopy forest mixed with scrub and brush
Lifespan: 15 years
Wild Diet: Nectar, flowers, fruits and leaves
Zoo Diet: Leaf eater diet, monkey chow, fruits and vegetables
They are diurnal for the part of the year in which they feed on fruit and new leaves. In the dry season, when fruit and new leaves are not available, they become nocturnal and feed on nectar. When nocturnal they sometimes feed 80% of the time on a single species of tree. On Madagascar these lemurs live in small family groups consisting of a mated pair (which may remain together for many years) and their immature offspring. Occasionally older offspring remain with their parents for a time after puberty. On Comoros Island they live in larger unstructured groups with several males and females. Aggressive behavior is uncommon. Scent marking is very important sustained by rubbing branches with the crotch, forehead and hands. Unusual among primates, mongoose lemurs voluntarily share food with one another.
Mating is seasonal. Females experience estrus for about one month between April and June. They give birth to a single offspring per year, though twins are not rare. Young are usually born from August to October after a gestation period of about 128 days. Mothers will allow only other mothers to grooms their infants. Fathers play no part in infant care.
Gestation: 120-136 days
- Because of their gentle disposition, mongoose lemurs have been kept as pets.