By Donna Bandy
Let me start with; before deciding to get a ring-tailed lemur or any Primate for that matter, please check the laws in your state as well as the county you dwell in to be sure it is legal to have one where you live.
I NEVER leave my primates alone ever. If I need to go somewhere without them, then my husband watches them and if something requires my husband and I to be there together, then we have a very close experienced friend that is family to us, babysit them for us. We bring them to her and pick them up when we are done doing what we had to do. And a baby, never leave them. I have cancelled important appointments when we first got Rocky, because he was in no way at a point as to me being able to leave him with anyone and hasn’t been fully ready now either, but we have done it twice recently and the first time he did call for me at first and then settled down, but he did do a Panic Poop.
The second time, Rocky did even better, however he did still do a Panic Poop. A Panic Poop’s texture is much different, it’s a bit runny and smells VERY BAD! They do this when stressed or when scared.
If you have other primates, keep in mind that most ring-tailed lemurs want to be top over the troop and primates always try to dominate what they believe is the weakest of the troop to help him or her dominate the rest. You need to know what you are doing to live with your troop like I do. Mine are free with me all day right up to bedtime and they all sleep with me and I am the dominate of my troop and they all know it, however living with dominant males like I do is VERY challenging and I do not recommend doing what I do if you do not fully understand each species and how to react as a troop leader when things need to be corrected by the troop leader.
About ring-tailed lemur teeth: I am a very strong believer that if you are going to live with a primate, the canine teeth should be removed. When Rocky was neutered at 8 months old, his adult canines had already came in, so they were removed the same day that he was neutered. They are not needed in captivity living in the home as family.
Ring-tailed lemurs have a few scent glands and the places where they are located are: On the chest over in front of the arm pit crease you will find a fleshy thing that makes one think of a skin tag, it is a Scent Gland on each side. They also have a Scent Gland on each wrist and as they get older a small spur grows on the wrist right next to the scent gland. They also have a scent glad near their anus which will grow a ring like spur over time near the ring. Rocky uses his Scent Glands on his wrists and chest when playing with our capuchins. He has used them as a threat towards them twice and the difference is, when it is a threat, he will rub the Scent Glands on the end of his tail and will then throw his tail over his back and head and will wave the tail to make sure the one being threatened gets a strong smell of the substance. Rocky does not do the threatening behavior when playing, but he does rub his Chest and Wrists Scent Glands. As for the Anal Scent Gland, Rocky didn’t start doing the Scent Marking until he was 11 months old. You will be glad that they wear a diaper then. Rocky goes around to several places and backs his butt right up to what he is claiming as his and yes, he has Scent Marked me and he will Scent Mark everywhere I sit. He has claimed me as his. If they are not neutered the substance from the Scent Gland can have an odor that you can smell, but with a neutered male, you cannot smell it, but other animals can.
All primates go through changes as they mature and it does not matter whether they are neutered or not, it does not change the maturing process. In many cases when primates go through a change it is really difficult on the primate and during these changes, if you do not understand these changes, you can get hurt by the primate and in some cases, it is during this time that some people give up on the primate and that is when some primates become an all the time caged primate. I have personally helped MANY people get through primate changes with their primate and not loosing their life with them in the home. For a ring-tailed lemur the first change normally happens around two years old another change after that will be around four years old. It will become VERY IMPORTANT to pay attention to the CHANGE BEHAVIOR and it is just as important that you react appropriately.
Finger nails and toe nails of a ring-tailed lemur do not grow like other primates nails grow, but they do get pointed and the point needs to be trimmed or you could get scratched up pretty badly as they are extremely sharp on both hands and feet. On the foot the second toe that is right next to the big toe, that toe nail is called: Toilet-Claw and they do use that nail in a fight and it can do a lot of damage, you will need to be sure to clip the very tip of this nail so it’s not pointed. On the bottoms of their feet and hands they have dermal ridges to help them grip things. And the bottoms of the toes are flat, which helps them grip as well.
ring-tailed Lemurs can leap very far and can jump very high, they can do a thrity foot leap. All this needs to be taken into consideration when building their enclosures.