Some facts about lemurs
Lemurs are amazing and unusual creatures.
The word lemur comes from the Latin word meaning “a ghost”. Perhaps this is because they move about silently at night and have large mysterious eyes. In the 16th century Europeans first landed on the island of Madagascar, where they met funny little animals with eyes glowing in the dark. The Europeans remembered of the ancient Roman beliefs and animals were called lemurs.
Lemurs live only in two places: Madagascar and the nearby Comoro Islands.
Some people think that lemurs are related to squirrels or cats. But they are primates and more closely related to humans.
There are more than 60 species of lemurs. The smallest species weighs only 30 grams. The largest species weighs 10 kilograms.
These animals have big, bushy tails that they wave in the air as a form of communication. Their tails also help them balance when they jump from tree to tree. But they don’t hang from trees by their tails.
Some species of the lemur have longer tails than their bodies.
Lemurs live in groups. The females are dominant over the males in the group.
Lemurs like to sleep during the day and are active during the night. They eat nuts, fruits and berries. Sometimes they also eat insects.
Some species of lemurs are able to hibernate for a long time. Interestingly, in this period, their body temperature is the same as the ambient temperature. This is very rare among mammals.
They usually have only one baby at a time. The baby clings to its mother’s belly and travels with her through the treetops. Later the baby lemur rides on its mother’s back.
Lemurs can be very curious if there’s food around.
The best-known species of lemur is the ring-tailed lemur. It has a long striped tail, with rings of black and white. Like most lemurs, it lives in trees, but looks for food on the ground.
They live from 20 to 27 years.
Unfortunately, lemurs are on the list of endangered animals. The reason is the human factor.