Holy Madagascar! Ruffed Lemurs Return to Memphis Zoo
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Holy Madagascar! Ruffed Lemurs Return to Memphis Zoo

MEMPHIS, TENN. – Memphis Zoo is pleased to announce the return of two types of ruffed lemurs – black-and-white ruffed lemurs and red-ruffed lemurs - to its exhibits beginning today. Both lemur species are found in the wild on the tiny African nation of Madagascar. 

“We’re thrilled to be able to share these amazing animals with our Memphis Zoo family,” said Courtney Janney, area curator. “Ruffed lemurs have not called Memphis home since 2002. As a critically endangered species, we’re excited about their return to the Zoo.”

During these first weeks, guests will see the exhibit - located by Primate Pavilion across from the orangutans - in a rotation of animals. As the lemurs get accustomed to the exhibit, the black-and-white ruffed lemurs and the red-ruffed lemurs will rotate schedules from one morning to the next. Each afternoon, the lemurs will go inside and the Asian small-clawed otters will be on exhibit.  The ideal scenario is for both species of ruffed lemurs to coincide together in the same exhibit so that both will be out in the mornings. This rotation helps each lemur species to adjust appropriately before introducing them and allowing them to coincide together in the same exhibit.

The Memphis Zoo red-ruffed lemurs include a set of five-year old triplets, two males and a female.  “Carmé” is the female and her brothers are “Titan” and “Puck.” The black and white lemurs are teenagers – one female and one male – and are named “Pepé” and “Penelope.”

Lemurs are known as “prosimians,” which roughly translated means “before monkeys.” Native only to the island of Madagascar and nearby Comoro Islands, lemurs resemble ancestors from millions of years ago.

The group is on exhibit in Primate Canyon, across from the Orangutan yard.

About Black-and-White Ruffed Lemurs

It’s easy to spot the black-and-white lemur as this is the color of their bodies. While their markings may be slightly different, they typically have black faces, heads, hands and feet and a fluffy white ruff around the neck.  The average body length is 20-26 inches while the average adult weight is 6-10 pounds. Their diet is fruit, leaves, seeds, insects and nectar.  As with most lemurs, this species is diurnal, awake during the day. Lemur females are dominant.

About Red-Ruffed Lemurs

While the red-ruffed lemur’s coat is a rusty color, they still feature black on their inside limbs and white on the back of the neck.  This lemur is the largest member of the Lemuridae averaging 43-47 inches and 7-10 pounds. Its diet is the same as the black-and-white lemur. Red ruffed lemurs are the most vocal of all primates – they have been known to use 12 different vocalizations. This species has alarm calls that provide a warning to the group.  These calls can simulate a roar or a low grunt. Predators include snakes, large mammals and humans.

Posted by Laura Doty at 5:39 PM