By Donna Bandy
We got our first ring-tailed lemur Rocky 11 1/2 mos. ago, but before getting him, I learned a lot from a couple friends that have them and did a lot of research on them and amp-ted up my research and notes the closer I got to getting Rocky. Everyone kept telling me to get a male and not a female because the females are the dominate of the troop with lemurs. I already knew I wanted a boy anyways, however if my mind had of been set on a female, then a female is what I would have gotten. From all my many years of working with and training domestic and exotic animals, I already knew not to listen to that reasoning, for me, because I already know how to deal with those types of behaviors with dominant males and females.
One thing I was told and after getting Rocky, I got a BIG chuckle out of it and that is, I was told that ring-tailed lemurs have a rough tongue like a cat. I learned right away that that was not true. Their tongue is very smooth and soft, what the people were feeling all those years was what is called the ” Comb Teeth “. You see when lemurs groom themselves or groom you, they use their tongue as well as their Comb Teeth and the Comb Teeth do look like a comb and it is how they keep their fur from getting knotted and keep it super soft and pretty.
The main food in a ring-tailed lemur diet is fruit and leaves, but they also eat small lizards and birds and insects. But a lot more fruit than a capuchin eats. Rocky is 1 year old now and I still give him a morning bottle and will do so as long as he wants it. When getting his bottle, Rocky likes the nipple to go in the side of his mouth and he gently does a chewing motion on the nipple and at the same time I squeeze the bottle a little bit to help him with it and have done it this way since he was 5 weeks old. He also gets Mazuri Mini Leafeater Sticks and Zupreem Primate Dry, fresh fruit, spring mix, romaine hearts, nuts, veggies, etc. Rocky is a very good eater and there isn’t much he dislikes for food. One that he is not that crazy about is blueberries.
Ring-tailed lemurs are very smart and can learn many things and I have already taught Rocky a few things, such as, Sit, Sit Wait, Stand Up, Give Me Your Hand, Come to Mommy. He knows what ” No ” means. Rocky does like to steal any sort of paper and run with it laughing.
Rocky hated Baths and it is still not his favorite thing, but he is getting a little better. He’s not thrilled with the hair dryer either, but I am still working with him on that as well. And in between baths, I use scented diaper wipes to wipe all my boys down with every night. And they ALL love to be brushed with this new combo Safari brush that I got for them.
Males or Females should be neutered or spayed at 8 months old, but you may have to wait a little longer with the males if their testicles had not dropped yet. Rocky’s testicles had not dropped when he was neutered, but he was neutered at 8 months anyways and the size of his testicles, makes me wonder if they would have ever dropped. It’s unreal how big they were, so I am glad I went with my gut feeling on that one.
Rocky basically taught me the ring-tailed lemurs language and I can copy several of the sounds he makes and I understand what the sounds mean, which is very important to learn. He recently has a couple new sounds that I am learning from him, so when he does it, I pay very close attention to it, so I will know what it means.
Their poop comes out in moist soft pellets kinda like a deer poop, which is a normal poop for a ring-tailed lemur, hard pellets are not normal.
Of course with Rocky wearing a diaper 24/7 the poop pellets group together.
Rocky loves swings and chairs of all kinds and he loves hammocks, soft boxes, tunnels and so on. He loves beaded toys and small toys. He has a favorite stuffy for sleeping and he loves SOFT Blankies. He does not rely on them though, which is good.