Ring tailed lemur

As their name suggests, these lemurs have a ringed tail.

The rings are black and white and their body fur is mostly grey with white faces and chests.

Ring tailed lemurs are probably the most well-known of all the different types of lemur because King Julien from the Madagascar films is one. Ring tailed lemurs spend more than a third of their time on the ground, more than any other lemur species. They like to sunbathe in the mornings to warm themselves up. You will see them sitting with their arms outstretched, like they are sun-worshipping. They live for up to 15 years in the wild.

Our ring tailed lemurs live on an island on a pond next to our tapir. We have three different kinds of lemur at Folly Farm. The others are the red ruffed lemur and black and white ruffed lemur.

Image of a group of ring tailed lemurs

Ring tailed lemurs – a balancing act at Folly Farm!


The ring tailed lemur is endangered in the wild but as they breed so well in captivity there are lots in zoos. The ring tailed lemur faces many threats, including habitat destruction and being hunted for its meat. The illegal pet trade is also a major threat with people accepting money to steal them for sale as exotic pets.

Ring tailed lemur questions and answers

Where do ring tailed lemurs live?
Ring tailed lemurs come from Madagascar, the island off the East Coast of Africa. They live in the rainforest and spend most of their time on the forest floor, although they do climb but tend to spend more time in the mid canopy than the very top of the trees like ruffed lemurs.

What do ring tailed lemurs eat?  
Ring tailed lemurs mostly eat fruit and leaves. They really like the leaves of the tamarind tree. When it’s available, half of what they eat will be tamarind leaves. The food they eat is different to other lemurs because of the amount of time they spend on the ground. They will eat bark, earth, small insects and spider webs.

What is a group of ring tailed lemurs called?
A group of ring tailed lemurs is often known as a ‘troop’, although we think a ring of ring tails would be better.

What noise do ring tailed lemurs make?
Ring tailed lemurs make all kinds of noises from wails to howls, from purrs to chirps.

How many types of lemurs are there?
Nearly 100! But all of them come from Madagascar. The smallest is the pygmy mouse lemur which weighs just one ounce.

Are ring-tailed lemurs monkeys?
It’s an easy mistake to think lemurs are monkeys. They have many things in common. Both belong to the primate order which is made up of ‘monkeys’, ‘prosimians’ and ‘apes’. Lemurs are prosimians which literally means ‘before monkeys’.

How many babies does a ring tailed lemur have?  
Ring tailed lemurs usually have just one baby at a time, although they can have twins. Mothers carry their babies on their fronts for the first couple of weeks and then on their backs when the babies are a bit stronger.

Image of a group of ring tailed lemurs
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