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Lemurs – primitive primates, whose Latin name means “spirit, a ghost.” This nickname lemurs owe night and secretive lifestyle. There are 65 species of these animals was related to the Sifaka, the indri, rukonozhkami, Lori and galago. More distant relatives have lemurs with the higher primates – monkeys.
Appearance and size in lemurs vary widely. In general, are animals of medium and small size, which have half the length of the body it takes the tail. The largest lemur vari is 1-1.2 m long and the weight of 4 kg, the smallest dwarf lemur just 17-28 cm in length and weighs 60 grams! Lemurs have relatively thin body and an elongated front and rear limbs the same length, the tail is long and straight. Compared with monkeys lemurs more elongated snout, small ears, eyes day species is relatively small, and the nocturnal ones. On the muzzle of lemurs have sensitive hair tufts – whiskers (like a cat), besides their nose is always moist, even for that lemurs identified in suborder Mokronos monkeys. All these signs point to a primitive lemurs. At the same time they also have typical monkey traits – the thumb rest on the feet is opposed (though not so much stands out as among the higher primates), on the fingers grow nails in lemurs. Only on the second toe of the hind limbs are growing so-called toilet claws that lemurs combed wool. Coat of lemurs in a short but thick. Wool is soft and uniform, like a fur. Color can be quite varied, often it is not plain and zoning, that is, different parts of the body are painted in a contrasting color (black, white, gray, red-red). Sexual dimorphism in lemurs is not expressed except black lemur, whose black males, and the females red with white cheeks.
Lemurs are a unique group of animals, in fact, with all its species diversity, it lives only in Madagascar and several surrounding islands. Thus all lemurs are narrow endemics and very vulnerable. Habitats lemurs – the different types of forest from humid jungles to dry woodlands. Ring-tailed lemur may be found on the slopes of the mountains and crowned lemurs visit the unique area of Madagascar – Tsingy de Bimaraha. At this point, the rocks are sharp as a razor blade tops, and tip the stick a lot, like a forest. Lemurs manage to jump on these rocks without any damage to their health, and they live in the neighboring forests.
Image of lemurs life is very different in different species. Small lemurs live alone and are strictly nocturnal. This cautious and secretive animals, which are difficult to track down. Large species live in groups of 10-25 individuals, they are active during the day, behave more safely and have access to the gardens and parks of the city without fear of human presence. In smaller species observed phenomenon unique to primates – sleep, or rather stupor. Animals fall into this state in the dry season, when juicy fodder is in short supply. Numbness lasts a few months, during this period lemur lives off fat reserves accumulated earlier.
Lemurs are sedentary and occupy permanent stations, which protect against the invading neighbors. On the way of life of small species of lemur is still little known, they remain one of the most neglected animals. In zoos cheirogaleidae behave aggressively, although much depends on the individual animal. In family groups, large species of lemurs reigns strict hierarchy, with the dominant position occupied by females in the group. Males are always on the sidelines and can change group, while the females remain in the mother’s family. Between neighboring families may be fighting for territory, during which animals make jumping (they are more intimidating in nature and are designed to psychologically crush the enemy), rarely bite each other. The boundaries of the territory of lemurs labeled urine. However, lemurs can not be called evil animals, bloody fights among them does not happen, and subject to the internal discipline of the group, its members often have reciprocal favors – sorted and combed wool, lick each other. Lemurs emit a variety of sounds (grunting, for example), but the facial expressions they have not developed. Unlike monkeys lemurs show no insolence and audacity, it is timid and tame animals, no different acumen.
Small species of lemurs – are typically arboreal animals, they move along the branches of trees and down to earth. Usually lemurs go into the branches on all fours, as well as make short jumps, grasping prehensile trunks of the palms and soles. Long-tailed lemur is the balancer for the jump and do not have prehensile functions, as is often observed in monkeys. Large lemurs also live in trees, but the earth move more readily, making long detours territory. Daytime species of lemurs like sunbathing, pausing in the sun with their paws, or stretched out on the branches. Lemurs sleeping or sitting with his head between his paws (large species), or curled (small species). Last even equip the nest for the night or enjoy hollows.
All types of lemurs herbivorous, they eat buds, young shoots and leaves of trees, flowers, fruits (bananas, figs), sometimes bark. At the same time, these animals are not averse to diversify your diet with insects, honey and even bird eggs.
The breeding season anyway timed to coincide with the rainy season. Special mating rituals of these animals do not have, pregnancy lasts for different types from 2 to 5 months. At 2-3 lemurs often born baby, while many of the monkeys bring only one. Cubs minor (from dwarf lemur weighing 3-5 g in 80 g cat) first, they cling to the mother’s fur on the belly, and then get over on her back. The female feeds the baby milk from a few weeks to a couple of months, but lemurs become independent early. Small dwarf lemur becomes independent as early as 2 months, and a large cat – in 6. Sexual maturity occurs in these species, respectively, at 10 and 18 months, and lemurs live up to 20-27 years.
In Madagascar, no ordinary African predators, so the main enemies of hawks, and lemurs are endemic to another island – Fossa. Voss recalls a gigantic marten, she deftly running along the branches and is very dangerous for the lemurs.
All types of lemurs are endangered and listed in the Red Book, are particularly affected lesser known small nocturnal species, whose numbers are difficult to estimate. The main danger for the lemurs lies in the destruction of natural habitats, as in Madagascar conducted cutting relict forests, and in other places, these animals can not live. At the same time, well-acclimatized lemurs in captivity, where many of the larger species breed successfully. Thus, the Ring-tailed lemur has become one of the most common inhabitants of the zoo.