One of the world's largest islands, the secluded island of Madagascar, has been separated from Africa for millions of years and has consequently evolved into an island of uniqueness and mystery, and one that is extremely rich in biodiversity. Today, this magical land is home to some of the rarest animals in the world, with more than 70% of it's native plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth. |
One of Madagascar's most distinctive groups of animals are the Lemurs, which are unique primates found across the island in a variety of habitats. Their ancestors were originally thought to have arrived on Madagascar on natural rafts from Africa, and these primates have adapted impeccably to their new surroundings since. There are now nearly 100 different species of Lemur recorded living on the island today.
Lemurs range in size from the 60cm tall Indri, which is the largest species of Lemur and can weigh up to 7kg, to the tiny Madame Berthe's Mouse Lemur, which is the world's smallest primate weighing just 30g, and one of the most endangered mammals on Earth. All Lemurs, despite their different sizes and colouration, are relatively similar with a dog-like face, dexterous hands and feet and long back legs used for leaping.
Like monkeys, Lemurs are primarily tree-dwelling animals, with most species being nocturnal and only coming out to hunt for food under the cover of night. Lemurs are omnivorous but primarily eat leaves, fruits and bark from the trees surrounding them. Their long hind legs and generally long tails, enable them to leap from tree to tree in an upright position (unlike monkeys that tend to grab branches with their hands first).
The only real predator of the Lemur is the cat-like Fossa which has evolved to hunt these animals with agile precision high in the trees. Sadly however, these remarkable animals are under threat in much of their natural habitat as approximately 80% of Madagascar's native forests are thought to have already disappeared. Today, the island's Lemur (and indeed Fossa) populations are confined to small pockets of their natural habitat along with areas of designated National Park.
The Lemurs Of Madagascar Comments (1)
"I think that the gray mouse lemur is cute."
Ben the Beaver's Barrel of Laughs