The term 'mouse lemur' is used for the 18 odd species of nocturnal lemurs belonging to genus Microcebus, which―like other lemurs―are endemic to the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Most mouse lemurs have a combined body length (including head and tail) of less than 27 cm, which makes them the world's smallest primates. However, the weight of these animals fluctuates in accordance to daylight duration.
According to latest research, up to 18 species of mouse lemurs are found on the planet. However, wildlife experts believe that there are several more species that are waiting to be discovered. Due to their size, it's very difficult to spot them in the wild, which, in turn, makes it difficult to collect data about them.
Mouse Lemur Facts
- In the olden days, lemurs were widely associated with evil, i.e., spirits and ghosts, most likely because of their ability to hunt in dark and unusually big eyes.
- All mouse lemurs have a white strip between their eyes, whitish abdomen, orangish-black head and tail, and a long tail and short limbs. Owing to this similarity in their coloration and physical attributes, it's very difficult to distinguish between the different species.
- Their habitat consists of woodlands and thick forests with abundance of trees, wherein they can navigate with utmost ease. Due to their restricted geographical range, mouse lemurs are finding it difficult to cope with human-induced changes in their natural habitat.
- Though they are small in size, mouse lemurs occupy an area of about 5 acres. They live in groups like most other lemurs. While sleeping, males and females sleep in separate groups, each comprising more than 10 members.
- As they are omnivores, their diet consists of variety of things. As the night approaches, they climb down and start hunting for food, which includes plants, insects, fruits, berries, and vegetables. Their diet changes according to their habitat and seasons.
- Mating season for mouse lemurs begins from the month of September and lasts till March. The gestation period is of 2 months, after which the female gives birth to 3 young ones and looks after them until they are big enough to take care of themselves.
- Though they have two major predators in the wild: (i) the Barn owl and (ii) the Madagascar tree boa, the predation by them doesn't cause much harm to the mouse lemur population; courtesy, the high reproductive potential of these primates.
It's a well-known fact that people like keeping different kinds of exotic species as pets. While most of the people keep dogs and cats, some go a step further and opt for species like mouse lemurs. In most of the cases though, the experience is far from perfect because of the obvious reason: lemurs are wild animals. If you have been contemplating the idea of keeping mouse lemurs as pets, you'll be better off dropping it.