Lemur twins at Saint Louis Zoo
It’s double the fun at the Primate House! Twin female black-and-white ruffed lemurs were born on May 23, 2010, and are now starting to venture out of their nest to explore their habitat with their parents, Lulu and Mahery, and one-year-old brother, Fidy. The twins will soon be named by the primate staff.
At about 5-1/2 weeks old in this video, they are starting to eat fruits and veggies such as cabbage, eggplant, pears, beets and cucumber, but also still nurse from mom.
Unlike other lemurs that typically give birth to a single offspring, ruffed lemurs can have up to five infants in a litter. Rather than carry the infants on their abdomen, ruffed lemur mothers build nests for the infants. This unique trait has allowed keepers to track the infants’ development and weights daily. Each of the babies tripled its birth weight in the first three weeks.
The female infants are a significant addition to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) population. Their father came to the Saint Louis Zoo from the Ivoloina Zoo in Madagascar and their mother is the first generation offspring of another pair also from Madagascar. The SSP is responsible for maintaining a genetically healthy population of black-and-white ruffed lemurs in North American zoos.
Lemurs are primates that live only on Madagascar, an island off the eastern coast of Africa. Like many other types of lemurs, the ruffed lemur is in danger of extinction in the wild. These animals suffer from continued habitat loss, as their forest homes are logged for timber and turned into farmland.
The Saint Louis Zoo is home to the international headquarters of the Madagascar Fauna Group, a consortium of zoos and aquariums committed to conserving lemurs and other wildlife species within their native habitat.
For more information about lemurs, visit http://www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/mammals/lemursmonkeysapes