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Makis cattas © MNHN - F-G Grandin

The ring-tailed lemur

With its black and white striped tail and small orange eyes, the ring-tailed lemur is a symbol of Madagascar.


Class, order and family :
Mammalia, primates, lemuridae
Lifespan :
up to 19 years
Height & weight :
95 to 110 cm and 2.3 to 3.5 kg
Gestation :
4.5 months
Natural habitat :
thorny dry forest, thicket
Diet :
fruit, flowers, bark, insects
Native region :
Statut UICN : 

Endangered (EN)


This frugivorous lemur inhabits the savannahs in the south of the island, where it can be seen walking around on its hind legs and demonstrating its agility by leaping up to ten metres between branches.

Distinctive features

This frugivorous lemur lives in groups in the savannahs of the south of the island, where it can be seen striding on its hind legs and leaping nimbly, making leaps of up to ten metres between branches.

 This species is dominated by females.


It has a grey coat with a white underside. The face is white, with black outlines around the eyes and muzzle.


It is estimated that their population has declined by 30% to 50% in thirty years. The main causes are hunting, fragmentation of their forest habitat and illegal capture.

The lemurs are the emblem of the awareness campaign and appeal for donations run by the zoological establishments to protect Madagascar's fauna. This campaign has made it possible to fund numerous conservation initiatives throughout the island.


The Museum's scientists are contributing their expertise to the conservation of lemurs, a highly fragile and endangered species. Veterinarians and ethologists from the Haute-Touche Zoological Reserve took part in health, behavioural and genetic studies of brown lemur populations.