Lemur macaco collaris
Extreme north-northwestern Madagascar
Wild: Fruit, vegetables, insects, eggs, birds
Zoo: Leaf-eater biscuit, fruit, grapes, slice of yam
19 years in the wild, 27 years in captivity
The collared lemur has a 'fox-like' face. Its body and head measure 11 to 20 inches, and tail length is 8 to 28 inches. Males are black and females are rufous. At first it was thought that the male and female were different species, and the female was described as the 'white-bearded' lemur.
Behavior: Collared lemurs are arboreal, and particularly active in the morning and evening hours. These lemurs do not have scent glands under their arms like many others, but mark their territory by rubbing their palms on objects. Vocalization plays a greater role in marking the boundaries. They emit piercing screams, particularly in the evening at their sleeping places. Careful groomers, they often comb their fur with horizontal lower incisors, the rough-edges underside of the tongue, or the second toe. When greeting a familiar conspecific (or person in the zoo) they push out their lower jaw and go through motions of combing and licking the others fur. They are able to jump up to 8 feet. Their unbelievably quick movements are compared to the flight of a bird. Evading snakes and birds of prey in the tree tops is accomplished by a sudden dropping to the ground and running to a distant tree at lightning speed. The ground is relatively safe, since only the few civets that live in Madagascar are their predators.
Reproduction: The female has one pair of teats prominent in the breeding season. The newborn is grayish colored, with a thin coat of hair. Both males and females in the group take an interest in the young, and will play with it and lick it. They reproduce easily in captivity.
Did You Know?
- Collared lemurs can expertly crack bird skulls and then eat the brain. They (and most lemurs) seem to require more meat supplements and most zoos add freshly killed chicks and mice to their diets.
- They are about the size of a house cat.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the Lemur Exhibits at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.