Ring-tailed lemurs

Lemur catta

Ring-tailed lemurs are the best known of all lemur species, famous for their long, striped black and white tail.

The tail is used as a flag as the lemurs walk, held aloft so others can see. It is also used in 'stink fights' where the animals rub their tails against scent glands on their arms and wave them over their heads at their opponent.

Ring-tailed lemurs are very sociable creatures, living in groups from 6 to 30 individuals in small home ranges. The females are dominant in the groups.

You can get up close to our lemur family in their walk-through enclosure in Discover Madagascar.


Ring-tailed lemurs are herbivores. They mainly feed on fruit which makes up the greater part of their diet in the wild, but they also eat leaves, flowers, tree bark, sap and will occasionally eat insects too.
They feed in trees, jumping from branch to branch to avoid the sharp spines, and also forage on the ground.


Ring-tailed lemurs come from southern and southwestern Madagascar. In the wild, they live in tropical dry forests, dry scrub, montane humid forests and gallery forests.


This species of lemur is classified as Endangered with only 10,000 to 100,000 left in the wild. This is largely because the sparse, dry forests they live in are being destroyed for agriculture, charcoal production and mining.

You can learn more about the ring-tailed lemurs' conservation status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website.

Animal Adoptions

  • Adopt our ring-tailed lemurs
Sign up to our newsletter using the form below to receive the latest Wild Place news.
First Name:
Last Name:
Your Email: