The ring-tailed lemur is the most land-based lemur of all. It spends up to 40% of its time on land and the rest of its time in the trees. Lemurs have a life span of 20 – 25 years, and the females give birth to one or two pups after a gestation of 134 – 138 days. The young pups attach to the mother’s belly during the first weeks of life and then alternate between the mother’s belly and back. They take their first steps after four weeks, and they become more independent. However, they only reach full maturity at five – six months, when they finish nursing. The females remain in the group to which they were born, but the males leave the group once they are mature, at the age of approximately three years. In the wild, mating season begins in the middle of April, and the pups are born in August and September.
As the group roams the forest, the individuals lift their tails, so that they can see one another. The members of the group bond through grooming one another in a special way: on its lower jaw, the lemur has six teeth which serve as a kind of comb, which it uses to comb itself and the other group members. The ring – tailed lemur also has scent glands in the palms of its hand and in its chest, which it uses to mark its territory. These charming creatures are at risk of extinction, mainly due to the destruction of their habitat. Their numbers in the wild is decreasing, but fortunately, they breed well in captivity. There are roughly 1,000 individuals throughout the world in close to 150 zoos.