Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



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Meet the Lemurs

Three lemur species live at the Zoo. Ring-tailed lemurs and a pair of red-fronted lemurs live on Lemur Island. Three red-ruffed lemurs live at the Small Mammal House. Learn about lemurs.

Lemur Island

The ring-tailed lemurs are often found in the sunny spots on the island first thing in the morning. Occasionally, they will climb to the top of the rock formation to sunbathe. They will sit upright, with their thinner white fur belly toward the sun. By late morning, visitors will find them all huddled together in the huts, in a sort of lemur ball. They do this to keep warm and to reaffirm social bonds. From time to time, visitors see them grooming each other as well. The red-fronted lemurs tend to spent time in the trees toward the back of the island or in the huts.

Red-fronted Lemurs

Red Oak

Red Oak – Male

Red Oak was born on March 14, 1993, and weighs about six pounds. He has a light brown coat and has a black stripe down the center of his head leading to his black snout. He has cream-colored cheek hair.

He has allergies that can act up during various times of the year.

When the lemurs are given outdoor access, Red Oak likes to chase the ring-tailed lemurs out. He is often seen scent-marking or resting very close to Flare. He is a very curious animal and will be the first to check out a new area.


Flare – Female

Flare was born on March 19, 1986, and weighs about four pounds. She has a reddish coat and is smaller than Red Oak. She has a reddish-colored crown, with the same black stripe down the center of her head leading to her black snout. She has white eyebrows. She often has a stunned look on her face, her eyes wide open.

She likes to vocalize and is also often seen scent-marking. She will often be seen resting close to Red Oak.

Ring-tailed LemurS


Ninna - Female

Ninna was born on March 15, 1989 and weighs about seven and a half pounds. She is the smaller of the two female ring-tailed lemurs. She has a small squared-off tail.

Ninna tends to be a nervous yet curious animal.

Stink-Fighting Behavior

The male ring-tailed lemurs can perform two unique behaviors called spur-marking and stink-fighting. They have spurs, much like a fingernail just over their scent gland on their wrist. They will dig this spur into a branch or object and rub secretions from their scent gland all over the object. Often, they do this to mark their territory and dominance. They will also rub their tails with the scent glands on their wrists and then lift and posture their tails above their heads and wave it back and forth toward their opponent. This often occurs between males during breeding season.

Health Care

Each animal has a yearly physical, including a dental checkup and fecal analysis.

Ring-tailed Lemur Reproduction

The Zoo is not actively breeding lemurs. These animals have well-represented genes and the Species Survival Plan does not need them as part of the breeding population.