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Lemur Fact Sheet: Ring-tailed Lemur

Scientific Name: Lemur catta

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The Ring-tailed lemur is one of the most recognizable lemur species. It is also the most studied of all lemurs by ecologists and biologists. Ring-tailed lemurs are the most terrestrial of all lemur species, and spend around a third of their time on the ground. They are cathemeral, meaning they are active both during the day and night. However, they tend to avoid nighttime activity when temperatures are low. 


Ring-tailed lemurs are not picky eaters, and have a varied diet that includes fruit, leaves, flowers, herbs, bark, and sap. Group sizes can range from 6-24 individuals and are made up of multiple males and females. 

Geographic Range

Well known for their ecological flexibility, Ring-tailed lemurs live in a diverse range of habitats. They are found in the dry forests, spiny bush, montane forest, mangroves, and rocky outcrops in southern and south-western Madagascar, as well as gallery and littoral forests. 

Conservation Status

The Ring-tailed lemur is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Their population is decreasing and severely fragmented. 


The greatest threats to Ring-tailed lemurs are habitat loss, hunting, and live capture for the illegal pet trade. Although a hardy species, scientists predict that Ring-tailed lemurs could lose over 60% of their habitat due to the effects of climate change in the near future. There are also frequent droughts across their geographical range, which causes an increase in hunting and a decrease in food sources for the lemurs. 

Ring-tailed lemurs sometimes fall prey to natural predators like the fossa, Madagascar harrier-hawk, Madagascar buzzard, and Madagascar ground boa. Unnatural predators like domestic dogs and cats add to this threat. Finally, Ring-tailed lemurs are frequently wild-captured and kept as pets. They are the most common lemur species in the pet trade.  

LCN Members Working to Save Ring-tailed Lemurs

Where to See Ring-tailed Lemurs In Madagascar

  • Berenty Private Reserve
  • Andohahela National Park
  • Isalo National Park (Canyon des Makis)
  • Anja Reserve
  • Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park
  • Andringitra National Park
Learn more about Ring-tailed Lemurs on Discover Wildlife

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