Ringtail Lemurs as
Good the Bad & the Ugly
by Linda LaFrentz
raised Ringtail Lemur can be a wonderful
the experience can also become a
nightmare for you & usually the
animal if you are not prepared.
biggest mistake you can make is pull the
baby for a pet and then say "well if I
get tired of it, I can always breed it!"
A hand raised lemur, male or female,
should be spayed or neutered before
sexual maturity. Between the age of 6 to
10 months. The males testicals are not always down at this time. These males
are called crypt-archidsThe
procedure is through the lower abdoman
like the female. The price of the
surgery will reflect this. More money $$
usually doesn't happen, but it is better
to be prepared.
A male being neutered, crypt-archid.
are not spayed or neutered (at
the right time) they will get aggressive
and attack you or your friends. Because
of handraising and bonding with humans,
they lose their fear and respect when
they reach sexual maturity. In the lemur
troupe there is a pecking order, similar
to horses. The female is the most
dominant of the sexes. They do know a
human male from a female. The female
lemur will rub her rear on a man. It's
like saying "YOUR MINE".
If you have a
pet that is put into a breeder
situation, they will breed, reproduce,
learn to take care of their young. BUT
the females will eat you up when they
have a baby. I have 1 female breeder
that was hand raised. When she has her
baby we have to get out the leather
gloves & net. This is a "have to"
for our protection. We do this to
check the sex and to put iodine on the
baby's navel. You don't have to do this
with a "mother raised breeder". The hand
raised mom will forget about their love
at this time.
The love of the baby is a stronger bond.
Because of hand raising she is NOT
afraid of you.
Even if they
don't have a baby, they are very moody.
You don't pet or touch without their
permission. If they think you are going
to take something away from them
.....whap.....you are gonna get it!! If
they attack, (jump on you) they usually
go for your head...One time I gave the
hand raised mom a piece of romaine
lettuce. She sat on it. I gave her
another one and reached for the one she
was sitting on....She shot like a bullet
at me. Knocked my glasses off. WHAP...I
GOT IT.... I wasn't thinking. You
NEVER take anything away from her.
Another time I reached into their food
dish to hand a male lemur a grape....I
got my hand slapped......FEMALES
don't have any experience with a male
pet as a breeder. I have heard a few
horror stories though. One lady said she
had a pet male for 3 years and got him a
female. At that point, he bonded with
the other lemur and started attacking
the lady. The female lemur that she got
was mother raised, and never gave the
lady any problems. The lady finally "got
rid " of them after trying to deal with
them for two more years. She hated to
let them go, but she was scared of them.
They have 2 long teeth on top that can
rip and slash the flesh. Now they are
somebody else animals,
and they may be mistreated at this
lady that works with a big wildlife
facility called me. She is the keeper of
the lemurs. She is called the "Lemur
Lady". She loves her lemurs but when
they get older and go into breeder
situations they turn aggressive and
attack her. She was telling me about
the females. I don't know if she has any
hand raised males or not.
want a breeder----let the mother raise
it! If the baby's life is threatened for
some reason and you need to hand raise
it. plan to spay or neuter it for a pet.
In some cases if they are pulled at 4 or
5 weeks of age, they aren't as good a
pet, but they are OK as a breeder. They
usually don't attack people.
mother raised breeders are friendly
enough to hand feed. You can't hold them
though. I have taken a lawn chair into
their pen and sat down with a hand full
of grapes. They will climb up on my lap
and even reach above my head for a
grape. But I can't hold them like a pet.
If I pull a baby to hand raise it (at 14
days), the mother will fret, but "not
are such beautiful animals. They do make
a wonderful pet. Sissy is a perfect
testimony for this. Because she was so
very ill for the first few months of her
life I decided to spay her. She was the
subject of the article,
called "Joint Ill - What's That?" She is
such a delight. I just love her. She is 3 1/2 years old now
(d.o.b. 5-30-99). She prefers to
stay with the other lemurs most of the
time. When she decides to stay in the
house for the night, she has a big cage
and a large pet kennel (her bed) next to
my bed with baby blankets and stuffed
that the weather is pretty enough, she
"helps" me feed all of the other
critters. I let her run loose in the
yard. She loves playing in the trees and
on top of the buildings... BY THE WAY
...I live in the country. This might be
dangerous in a city situation...Traffic,
power lines, dogs, neighbors...
a little possessive of me. Some times I
sit in a glider swing to play and love
on her. I raise
dogs. One of the males loves to "protect
me." He leans on me or sits on my foot.
Sissy doesn't want him this close. She
will hop back and forth from the glider
swing arm to pop Shadow on the head or
shoulder. This doesn't faze the dog of
course, he is so big and unconcerned.
Just sits there and takes it. Sissy has
gotten braver with Shadow. She runs and
jumps around shaking her head then grabs
the dog's back leg...wrestles it and
(play) bites him. He just stands there
like nothing is going on. Since she
gets away with this, she thinks....this
is fun....lets do it again. Funny. Like
a small child....whatever gets
attention. Most dogs wouldn't tolerate
this. The Great Pyrenees
is known as the "gentle giant". These
big dogs are for predator control. We
have a lot of coyotes in the country.
Sissy go into my "Critterhouse"
building. I have several refrigerators,
cabinets, sink, TV, aquarium, and
phone...also pens and cages of animals.
This is where I cut up fruit and veggies
and prepare the food for the different
animals that I have. She has found out
like a small child how to get my
attention...especially if I'm on the
phone. She has seen me write notes while
I'm talking...."pen & paper"... She sees
me write special notes on 3" X 5" cards
on the animals cages. So...what does she
do to get my attention? She grabs pen
and papers and runs with them. Or she
gets my notes on the cages and proceeds
to chew them up. Important notes to me.
Naturally I jump and run after her....
Has she got me trained or what?... She
will also grab paper, pens or $$ out of
a man's shirt pocket and run with it.
...It's Paper... If it's $$...there is
lots of hollering and chasing. She got
attention again...this works :-)
also has a pet.....Rambo. He is an
unaltered male prairie dog. He lives in
the lemur pen. The pen has 2' deep sand
for him to dig and burrow. They wrestle
and Sissy hops on him. He could really
do some damage with his teeth, but, he
likes playing with her. He likes for me
to scratch him when I go in the pen. He
grins at me... so cute. I might add that
the pen is completely enclosed with tin
siding and wire on sides and bottom. He
can't get out.
"Sometimes" Sissy is a little
aggressive toward other people. Usually
this happens when I am close to the
lemur pen. Away from the pen, she is
better. I learned the hard way NEVER
let anyone into the area of the building
where they sleep. My two grandaughters,
Ashley 6 and Kaycee 9, spent 2 weeks
with me during Christmas break. They
played with Sissy in the yard the whole
time. TWO WEEKS. At the end of the two
weeks Ashley wanted to help me feed the
lemurs. During the winter, I feed them
inside the shed where they sleep. It is
more protected from the weather. When
Ashley stepped inside the door----Sissy
jumped on her (and not in a playful
manner). Sissy's warning is a cluck,
cluck, cluck. We didn't hear this soon
enough. This scared both of us really
bad. It's going to take a while for
Ashley to get over this scare. So, even
though Sissy is a wonderful pet....they
can still be unprdictable.
longer let the girls play with Sissy. I
don't let her out of the pen if "anyone"
is around other than me.
I hope this article will help everyone
to understand what they can expect when
they pull that baby to hand raise.
not an expert or a veterinarian. These
are just some of my personal experiences
that I wanted to share. Exotic animals
do not always make good pets. In fact
they are not good pets for most people.
They take special care and understanding
that the average person or household is
not always prepared to provide. Please
look at yourself honestly and
critically. Are you truly prepared to
take on the responsibility of one of
these animals? In captivity they can
live 20 or more years. This is a lifetime