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Lemurs are a primate species endemic to Madagascar. They belong to the Strepsirrhine suborder. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, they are the most endangered species of mammal in the world, with 94% of the species on the IUCN Red List.
See the fact file below for more information on the lemurs or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Lemurs worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Etymology and Distribution
- The word lemur comes from the Latin word lemures that means “spirits of the dead”.
- In Roman mythology, lemures referred to a nocturnal and slow loris. The word eventually referred to what we now know as lemurs.
- In 1758, Carl Linnaeus named lemurs as an official genus.
- Linnaeus included three species: Lemur volans, Lemur tardigradus known as the red loris, and Lemur catta or the ring-tailed lemur.
- They are strepsirrhine primates. Other strepsirrhines are lorises, galagos, and pottos.
- Lemurs are native and endemic to Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island.
- They used to live in Africa too, but they competed with monkeys for food and resources.
- When Madagascar became separate from eastern Africa, lemurs mounted on driftwood and other floating objects to get to Madagascar.
- Lemurs used to occupy the whole island until humans arrived around 2,000 years ago.
- Lemurs now live on only 10% of the island’s area due to land being converted for agricultural use.
- Madagascar’s seasonal climate has made lemurs adaptable creatures.
- Lemurs have developed traits and habits that are unlike other primates, such as hibernating, storing fat, being active during the day and night, observing strict mating and breeding seasons, and gathering in small groups.
- Lemurs are arboreal creatures, meaning they live in trees.
- Most lemurs spend most of their lifetime in trees.
- Because of their arboreal lifestyle, their arms and legs are very nimble and versatile.
- 94% of lemur species are listed on the IUCN Red List as threatened.
- 49 species are considered endangered.
- 24 species are critically endangered.
- Major threats to lemurs include hunting, exotic pet trade, and most of all, habitat loss caused by climate change and logging.
- There are different sizes of lemurs – from the smallest primate to one of the largest.
- Lemurs have a small brain-to-body ratio.
- Like most primates, lemurs have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot.
- They have flat fingernails.
- A lemur’s second toe is often used for grooming and is called the “Toilet Claw”.
- The nails of a lemur can also be used as defense when they’re attacked.
- A lemur’s tail is so long it consists more than half their size.
- Their tails are used for communication and balance.
- Their long hind limbs make them great at leaping.
- Lemurs are social.
- Groups of lemurs are called troops.
- Lemurs communicate with other lemurs using scents.
- There are scent glands on a lemur’s wrist.
- At times, they waft scents using their tail to communicate.
- Male lemurs compete with each other and use their scent glands to give off stinky scents through their tails.
- The lemur with the smelliest tail wins.
- Lemurs reach maturity at two years of age.
- Lemurs hibernate when food is scarce.
- Lemurs thrive in captivity.
- Their lifespan can be up to 18 years.
- Female lemurs are feisty and socially dominant over males.
- Female lemurs will snatch food from their mates.
- Males will not eat if the females haven’t eaten first.
- Females could also bite their male partners, move them from a sleeping location, or hit them.
- They are also able to reproduce less if necessary.
- Females give birth to baby lemurs called pups.
- A female can give birth to one to six babies at a time.
- A female lemur is called a princess.
- Their typical diet consists of fruit and leaves.
- Tamarind fruit is one of their favorites and can make up half of their consumption when they live close to it.
- They are also known to eat flowers, insects, wood, and bark.
- In the day, lemurs like to sunbathe.
- Lemurs are able to slow down their metabolism when food is scarce.
- Blue-eyed lemurs are one of the only two primates, aside from humans, with blue eyes.
- A 2018 study showed results indicating smart lemurs tend to get attention from their fellow lemurs.
Types of Lemur
- A giant lemur named Megaladapis edwardsi was described by the American Museum of Natural History as having the size of a small adult human being.
- Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) are active on the ground most of the time, more than any other lemur species.
- The Dwarf Mouse lemur (also known as Pygmy Mouse lemur) is the smallest species of lemur.
- The Dwarf Mouse weighs only 30 grams and is 2.5 inches in length. Its tail adds up to 5 inches to its length.
- Mouse lemurs are nocturnal.
- The sifaka is one of the most endangered primates.
- The aye-aye lemur is often hunted down, trapped, and killed because of superstitious beliefs that they’re connected to wicked spirits.
- The aye-aye has teeth like those of a rodent and a very thin middle finger.
- There are two types of ruffed lemurs: the red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) and the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata).
- Ruffed lemurs are important plant pollinators.
- The indri, also known as babakoto, is one of the largest lemurs and can weigh up to 15 pounds. It has an upright posture when it climbs trees.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about lemurs across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Lemur worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the lemurs which are a primate species endemic to Madagascar. They belong to the Strepsirrhine suborder. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, they are the most endangered species of mammal in the world, with 94% of the species on the IUCN Red List.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Lemur Facts
- Supply the Meaning
- All About Madagascar
- True Trivia
- She’s The Boss
- What’s the Primate
- Lemur Profiles
- Help! We’re Endangered!
- Caption This
- Look! A Lemur!
- Larry the Lemur
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Link will appear as Lemur Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 20, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.