Meet Our Ring-Tailed Lemurs
Native to the spiny scrub forests of southern Madagascar, ring-tailed lemurs are easily recognizable for their black-and-white striped tails. In the wild, they can live in groups of up to 30 individuals, and all females in the group are dominant over the males—a trait not often found in other primate species.
Here at the Zoo's Lemur Island exhibit, our four ring-tailed lemur boys have a hierarchy of their own!
Bowie is the most dominant of our ring-tailed lemurs, and he often reaps the rewards of being in charge. He has a bold personality, which is evident whenever we give the group enrichment items. Bowie will wait for the other lemurs to figure out the puzzle feeders first before swooping in and taking the treats for himself!
Next comes Southside Johnny, who is easy to spot with his striking dark, orange eyes. He also has a small white “V” at the edge of the gray hair on his forehead. Johnny is a star during husbandry training sessions with his keepers, especially when he is asked to show off his jumping skills.
Next comes Birch. At 13 years old, he is the oldest of our ring-tailed lemurs. (Bowie, Southside Johnny and Tom Petty are all 12 years old.) He can be very shy and is often wary of new things, but he has a social butterfly streak, too. He gets along very well with the other ring-tailed lemurs and can often be seen huddling and grooming with the group.
Last—but certainly not least—comes Tom Petty! As the least dominant individual, he prefers to stay back to allow his fellow troop members the opportunity to forage. When they are done, Tom sneaks in and takes all of the leftovers! Tom has a unique and distinguished look about him. One easy way to tell him apart from the others is by looking closely at the markings on his head; there is plenty of white space between his black eye rings and the gray hair on top of his head.
Meet Our Collared Brown Lemurs
Collared brown lemurs, like ring-tailed lemurs, typically form large troops consisting of two to 22 lemurs. Unlike the ring-tailed lemurs, however, they do not have a hierarchical structure; males and females can be co-dominant. You can tell our 5-year-old collared lemur brothers apart by looking at the color of their collars: Bentley’s is more orange, whereas Beemer’s is more cream. You can see them at the Small Mammal House's outdoor exhibits on fair weather days!
Bentley is much braver than Beemer. He tends to lead his brother through new situations by exploring them first. His adventurous side makes him a pro at figuring out enrichment items that are more challenging.
Beemer can be quite timid with new situations. When he starts to feel more comfortable, he is very curious and sweet.