How to Raise Young Ring-tailed Lemurs

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Ring-tailed lemurs may be kept as pets legally only in some states. Be sure to check your state's exotic animal policy before you purchase a lemur as a pet.
Ring-tailed lemurs may be kept as pets legally only in some states. Be sure to check your state's exotic animal policy before you purchase a lemur as a pet. (Image: Anup Shah/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Ring-tailed lemurs are primates indigenous to Madagascar, an island nation off of southern Africa, and are known for their incredible cuteness and black-and-white ringed tail. They are called "lemurs," meaning "ghost" in Latin, because they are nocturnal creatures. Their adorable mannerisms and small builds -- most ring-tailed lemurs don't grow beyond eight pounds -- make them attractive to exotic pet lovers worldwide. However, because lemurs are wild animals, they are typically hard to domesticate. In order to successfully domesticate a lemur, you must start the training process when the lemur is very young.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh Water
  • Food (monkey chow, fresh fruits, flowers, leaves and vegetables)
  • Diapers
  • Cage

Feed the lemur twice a day. Monkey chow is recommended by animal experts, but fruit, vegetables, flowers, and especially citrus are also important sources of essential vitamins. Soak the monkey chow in water to soften the pellets for lemurs that are under six months old. Also, ring-tailed lemurs, as all pets, should have unlimited access to fresh water.

Prepare a home for your new pet. Lemurs typically have free rein of the house while their owners are home, as they are very energetic creatures that need to roam and bounce around. However, lemurs should not be left unsupervised so should have a cage. Small dog cages work well, but no smaller than 5-by-5 is recommended.

Dress your lemur in a fresh diaper daily. Although lemurs can be successfully domesticated, they can not be potty-trained. However, they easily become accustomed to wearing diapers, and extra smalls fit most baby lemurs. Adult lemurs normally require size small. A small incision (most effective in the shape of a "V") must be cut in the back of the diaper to allow an escape for your lemur's tail. Be sure not to make the opening too large, or leakage might occur.

Neuter your lemur between 6-10 months old. Lemurs are wild animals and very territorial. They will instinctively mark their territory if they are not neutered at a young age. Because of their territorial nature, they can become very aggressive if allowed to reproduce because they will protect their young fiercely. Breeding lemurs is not recommended if you are not a professional exotic animal breeder or zoologist.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lemurs can live up to 20 years, so be sure you are ready to commit before choosing a ring-tailed lemur as your next pet.

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