Facts on Lemurs for Kids

Updated April 17, 2017

Lemurs are a creature you might see the zoo. The most famous are ring-tailed lemurs, but there are many other kinds as well. They are related to apes and monkeys and have long, pointed noses, bushy tails and flexible toes and fingers. They eat fruit, leaves, eggs and small birds and animals. Their long toes and tails make them agile climbers, and their long noses help them to smell really well.

Kinds of Lemurs

There are 50 different kinds of lemurs. Some of them are very small, such as the pygmy mouse lemur that weighs only 28.4gr. Small lemurs tend to look something like mice. Some of them are as big as a large house cat, such as the Diademed Sifaka lemur, which weighs 6.8 Kilogram. They can be reddish brown, grey or black and white. Each looks different from the others. The ring-tailed lemur is called that because it has black rings all the way down its tail.


The only places lemurs live in the wild are a few islands off the coast of Africa: Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. Some live in rainforests and some in dry, desert areas, but they all spend a significant amount of their time in trees. The ring-tailed lemur spends more time on the ground than any of the others. There are several kinds of lemurs that are in danger of dying out because their forests keep getting cut down.

Social Lives

Larger lemurs live in groups of about 20. Females are dominant, which means they are the ones in charge. Usually, females will stay in the group they were born in for their whole lives, while the males may move among different groups. If there is any fighting, the females are the ones who will do it. Among the males there is an order of importance, too. The dominant lemurs will walk around with their heads up and their tails in the air, while the other males have their heads and tails down.


All lemurs love the sun, and they will sit around with their arms stretched out toward the sky like they are worshipping it. The lemurs that live in groups will sit in a circle as they do it. They communicate by waving their tails at each other and by their sense of smell. Female lemurs leave their scent on trees to mark their territory. Baby lemurs like to ride around on their mother's back or belly, except for the dwarf and mouse lemurs. Their babies are born too young to climb around so the mother puts them in a nest until they grow bigger.

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