Ilea – Ring-Tailed Lemur

Ilea (eye-Leah) is a female ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) born June 2016. Ilea came to the Foundation from a facility that took excellent care of her, to be an ambassador of her species for our educational program.

The ring-tailed lemur is a primate and the most recognized lemur due to its long, bushy tail with alternating black and white rings. Their dense fur is mostly gray with white on their stomach, chest and face. They have thick black rings around their yellow eyes and their paws are all black. Both male and female ring-tailed lemurs have scent glands which they use to mark their territory. Their tails are not prehensile, instead it is only used for balance, communication, and group cohesion. They are terrestrial but are great climbers allowing them to search for food and escape predators. Their diet includes fruit, leaves, bark, tree sap, and insects. The ring-tailed lemur is one of the most vocal primates and they use numerous vocalizations including alarm calls and group cohesion.

Ring-tailed lemurs are highly social animals and live in large family groups of 6-30 individuals, called a troop. The troop is led by a dominant female and often have multiple breeding females. Mating season begins in mid-April and the young are born between August and September. The young are entirely dependent upon their mother and are carried on her stomach for about three weeks, before they migrate to her back. The entire social group aids in the upbringing of the young.

The ring-tailed lemur is only found in the southern part of Madagascar, in the dry forest and bush. The ring-tailed lemur is endangered due to habitat destruction and hunting for meat and the exotic pet trade.

Lemur Trivia: Young lemurs begin to climb among tree branches when they are about three weeks old.

Ringtail Statistics:

Body Length 15 – 18 inches long, tail is 22 – 25 inches long
Weight 5 – 7.5 lbs
Gestation Period 140 days
Litter Size 1 – 2 young
Life Span 16 – 19 years in the wild, up to 30 years in captivity