Endemic to the island of Madagascar (an island in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa; the 4th largest island in the world), lemurs are a special kind of primates known as prosimians, which, in layman's language, are defined as primitive primates having large ears and eyes, and are characterized by nocturnal habits. These primates are known to be the oldest of their kinds. Having said that, they evolved even before the monkeys came into existence.
Lemurs are known to be among the endangered species of fauna, mainly due to loss of habitat, thanks to human activities. According to reports, there are now 30 kinds of lemurs species which are known to exist. According to sub fossil records, it is believed that there were lemurs as large as a male gorilla in the island of Madagascar, about 2000 years ago.
Where Do Lemurs Live?
As aforesaid, lemurs are endemic to Madagascar and can only be found on this African island. Most of the species are arboreal, and spend most of their time in trees and bushes. Most parts of the moist and tropical rainforests in the island are home to these animals. There are some desert areas on this island which are also known to be inhabited by lemurs. While most of these creatures enjoy their time high up in trees and bushes, the ring-tailed lemurs prefer being terrestrial; an unusual trait among lemur species. There are a few protected areas in the Southern part of Madagascar where some species of lemurs can be found, such as the ring-tailed one.
These areas range from Fort Dauphin west to as far north as Morandava on the west coast. Some species of these primates are known to be highly adaptable and this is the reason why places such as dense brush, spiny forests and low-lying limestone forests are also inhabited by lemurs. Most of these animals can be spotted foraging in areas with overgrown forests. This is because such areas offer an abundant supply of food for these animals during the rainy season. According to what experts have found, lemurs do not sleep in the same area for a long time. Otherwise, given the strong scent of these animals, predators can easily track them down.
Some Other Facts
Here we would know about the diet of these animals, and how do they do as pets?
# Fruits and insects comprise the staple food of smaller species of these mammals. The larger ones have more attraction towards plant materials. Although the food choices vary from species to species, lemurs may feed on anything that is edible, when left with the least of options. This behavior makes them one of the opportunistic animals on Earth.
# Keeping lemurs as pets can be one pricey affair, unless you are not thinking to get one of them all the way from the island of Madagascar. One easy way out is to browse the Internet and look for some pet shops which are into breeding lemurs. Experts suggest people to go for a male lemur, if at all they decide to keep one as a pet. This is because that male lemurs are known to possess a more submissive nature when compared to females. The reason to this could be explained by the fact that when in the wild, lemur groups are often supervised by a female, who stays in charge of leading the males, and other females when they go in search of food and shelter. Keeping this point in mind, it can be inferred that a male lemur can be trained with more ease than a female one.
The greatest threat which the lemur population is facing is habitat destruction and degradation. Not to forget, hunting for bushmeat, and live capture for the exotic pet trade are also responsible for the population of these animals to dwindle. All lemurs were declared as "protected" by the Malagasy government, starting in the year 1927, and more efforts have been and are still being made in order to save these primates from facing total extinction.