Yesterday, Sprite’s ring-tailed lemur group (NHE 9) was in a state of agitation …
Yesterday, Sprite’s ring-tailed lemur group (NHE 9) was in a state of agitation — all were in the trees sounding the terrestrial predator alarm call unique to ring-tails. At the DLC, if a Lemur catta sees something threatening on the ground (whether it be a squirrel, raccoon, or a suspicious looking package…!), the alarm call is started and the whole group immediately takes to the trees, with all members (except infants) taking up the call until the threat is past. The vocalization has been described in the scientific literature as “repeated yaps interspersed with open-mouthed clicks”.
In the wild, it has been documented that when ring-tails and sifaka share the same habitat, the sifaka often respond to ring-tailed lemur alarm calls by moving to the tree tops and starting the “sifak” vocalization, their version of a terrestrial alarm call. However, the NHE 9 sifaka group apparently have not read the book of lemur vocalization etiquette—while the ring-tails were going crazy with anxiety, jumping from tree to tree and yapping intensely (not to mention all the open mouthed clicking that was going on!), the sifaka group, not 100 yards away, were calm as can be, peacefully gathered in the top of a maple tree, basking in the sun or lazily feeding on maple leaf buds 🍁
If you were a lemur, which of these species would you want to be?
Photos and commentary by the DLC’s registrar and photographer, David Haring 🙂