Species and Distribution
As of 2010 there were over 100 lemur species formally recognised so we haven’t listed them all below! We have, however, picked out a few common favourites to give you a little more information.
Ring Tailed lemur
Easily recognisable by their banded tails and dark, mask like eyes, ring tailed lemurs inhabit dry scrub, deciduous and gallery forests in the south and southwest of the island. More terrestrial than most lemurs, they live in groups of up to 20, mainly in Isalo, Andringitra and Andohahela National Parks and the Berenty Reserve.
Males are all black and females have a brown back, a grey head, long white ear tufts and are white underneath. These cathemeral (meaning they have irregular bursts of activity) lemurs are more active during the night and inhabit forests in the northwest of the island of groups of about 7 – 10.
Red Ruffed lemur
One of the largest primates in Madagascar, these lemurs are restricted to Masoala Peninsula in the northeast. Weighting between 3.5 and 4 kg, they are characterised mainly by their rusty red coloured ruff and body, and black stomach, tail, feet and inside of the legs. They also have a white patch on the backs of their necks and may have white markings on their feet or mouths.
Also known as white sifakas, they belong to the same family as the indri. Despite being tree dwellers they do have to cross the ground occasionally, which is perhaps what they are most famous for. Standing only on their long back legs, their forearms above their head for balance they have the appearance of dancing as they jump across the forest floor. Found in the south and west of the island, they share their territory with ring tailed lemurs.
These are the largest of the lemurs, known for their strange wailing song and teddy bear like appearance. Indris inhabit the island's eastern rainforests, namely Andasibe National Park.
Living in small groups of up to four, they feed mainly on bamboo. The most common of these species is the grey bamboo lemur, which can be seen is several of the eastern parks. The golden bamboo lemur, however, is much rarer and mainly seen in Ranomafana National Park
This abundant species can be found throughout Madagascar and most easily seen in Ranomafana and Andasibe National Parks as well as the Berenty Reserve. These nimble creatures are the smallest of the primates, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur being the tiniest weighing just 30 grams, growing up to 100mm long.
Despite being quite well spread, these eerie looking, solitary creatures are rarely seen. Covered in the black or dark brown fur, with white guard hairs around their neck, aye ayes have a bushy tail not dissimilar to a squirrel. They also have rodent-like teeth, round dish-like ears and beady luminous eyes. Their fingers are long and thin, the middle finger being up to three times longer than the rest to extract grubs from inside trees.. Known for being rather fearless, aye ayes are considered a nuisance by some villages and a symbol of death by others!