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August 3, 2017 Calgary Zoo

PIGGY-BACKS & PLAYMATES – GET TO KNOW YOUR LEMURS

Leapin' lemurs! Make sure to keep any eye out for lemurs in the trees around you.

MEET SABOO, THE RING-TAILED LEMUR!

It’s time for the second installation in our summer blog series about the newest members of the zoo family. Featuring our ring-tail lemur, Saboo, we’re sharing more each month about her life at the zoo, interesting lemur facts, all about Madagascar and much more!

This chapter is all about young Saboo, and growing up lemur.

When Saboo was a lemur baby, she was insanely adorable. She was also tiny — newborn lemurs weigh around 75 grams (about the same as a kiwi fruit), and they’re just 10 cm long, but they grow up fast.

While not a picture of Saboo as a baby, this gives a great example of how cute she was! This wild lemur baby is catching a ride on their parent.

As a baby, Saboo stayed close to her mother, riding on her back or clinging to her tummy. She could climb and eat solid food at just a few weeks old, and stopped nursing after four or five months.

Baby lemurs have a lot of company, since they’re all born around the same time of year. Little Saboo had plenty of playmates to wrestle with, bite, and jump on. That’s how she prepared for life as an adult!

Saboo the ring-tail lemur makes a funny face while eating lunch.

Saboo the ring-tail lemur makes a funny face while eating lunch.

So what makes lemurs so special?

Some humans might not be able to tell the difference between lemurs and monkeys, but Saboo’s here to help set the record straight.

  • Part of the same family. Both lemurs and monkeys are part of the primate family, but they each belong to different sub-categories.
  • Who has forward-facing eyes?  Saboo’s eyes face forward, just like a monkey’s (or a human’s). This is useful for animals that need to judge distance accurately – great for lemurs that like to leap.
  • Monkeys: Everywhere! Lemurs: Not so much. Maybe not “everywhere,” but monkeys come from a lot of different places. Saboo’s relatives only live in nature in one: Madagascar.
TThe island of Madagascar is the only place in which lemurs are found naturally. Photo taken in the forests of Madagascar by partners of the Calgary Zoo.

The island of Madagascar is the only place in which lemurs are found naturally. Photo taken in the forests of Madagascar by partners of the Calgary Zoo.

  • Sniffing out the differences. Saboo and her lemur friends have long snouts and moist noses, which give them a keen sense of smell. Monkeys fall short (literally) in that department.
  • Well-groomed. Saboo and her troop like to look nice, and she has built-in equipment to make it happen. Their lower incisors look just like a comb — Saboo uses them like a brush and groom her fur.

Saboo and her friends may get up to monkey business (stink fights, anyone?), but it’s pretty clear the two are not the same!

Rhubarb and Radish Talk Science

Lemurs are considered fully grown by 1.5 years old, and usually become parents around age three (males become parents a bit later, between three and five).

Scientists think there are around 100 different species of lemur!! You can see three — ring-tailed (that’s Saboo!), black-and-white ruffed, and red-fronted (Rhubarb and Radish) — at the Land of Lemurs exhibit. When you visit this new habitat a portion of your membership fees go toward caring for Saboo and other animals at the zoo, as well as supporting our local and global conservation efforts.

Thank you for supporting wild life conservation!

Plan your visit to the Calgary Zoo.


Want to keep up with Saboo’s story? Check out past installments here on the member blog.

Chapter 1 – THE ORIGINAL LAND OF LEMURS – MADAGASCAR

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Comment (1)

  1. The ring-tailed lemur is diurnal and semi-terrestrial. Endemic to southern and southwestern Madagascar, the ring-tailed lemur ranges further into highland areas than other lemurs. It inhabits deciduous forests, dry scrub, montane humid forests, and gallery forests (forests along riverbanks). It strongly favors gallery forests, but such forests have now been cleared from much of Madagascar in order to create pasture for livestock.

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