Look who is enjoying a nice sunny day…
The Red Ruffed Lemurs like to spend time in their side cages when the weather is nice. Iris has found a great spot to kick back and relax.
So far, Spring has provided us with some very crazy weather. One day it is 70 degrees with a nice breeze then a cold and rainy day the next. Mid-march brought us some icy conditions then recently we had a hail storm pass through.
We make sure that we are constantly looking at the weather so that we can make sure to prepare the animal areas for whatever weather that is coming our way. Which includes keeping heat lamps up at lemurs for the extra cold nights to providing the bears with ice treats when it gets really hot.
But when it is really nice, the bears take advantage of the situation by finding a nice spot to sun.
Cynthia, who is our oldest Red Ruffed Lemur, turned 33 years old on March 30th. This makes Cynthia the oldest Red Ruffed Lemur in the country. 33 years is old for any lemur considering the average lifespan in captivity is early twenties. In the wild, lemurs tend to live longer to around mid-twenties. Since lemurs are endemic to Madagascar, it can be difficult to replicate their dietary and habitat needs in a captive environment. The keepers felt that 33 years of life for a lemur would be a great reason to celebrate. On Thursday the 27th, we provided the Red Ruffed Lemurs with a variety of different enrichment items. They received puzzle feeders, skewers, streamers, and colorful bags with dried fruit. At the 2pm lemur program, guest sang “Happy Birthday” from Lemur viewing and keepers talked about Cynthia as well as general information on lemurs.
If you were unable to make it to the Birthday celebration, here are some pictures of the big day….
The keepers and guest had a great time watching the Red Ruffed Lemurs explore and manipulate their enrichment items. After it was all over, they all found their spots on the perching and rested.
Cynthia, our oldest Red Ruffed Lemur, will be turning 33 years old on March 30th. On March 27th, the Explore the Wild team (Autumn and myself) will be providing Cynthia and the other Red Ruffed Lemurs with different types of enrichment and food items so that we can celebrate this milestone. This will provide the Red Ruffed Lemurs with great opportunities to interact with different food items and enrichment plus give the keepers a chance to take a lot of pictures! So, this will be very enriching to the keepers.
My next post will show what we did for Cynthia on her big day plus how she and the other Red Ruffed Lemurs interacted with all the items.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science reported troubling news for lemurs in the February 21 issue of their Science Magazine. The report states that lemurs the most imperiled
group of large vertebrates.
Read the full article: Schwitzer et al 2014_Science-Averting Lemur Extinctions.
It has been cold lately and that means that the Ring-tailed lemurs have been inside in their indoor holding area. Since they are inside, we want to make sure that they are getting enriched. A recent enrichment item that we have used for the lemurs is skewering dried fruit on pumpkins or like in the following pictures on paper towel tubes.
If you’ve been to a Meet the Keeper program at Lemurs, you may have heard someone ask if the Red Ruffed Lemurs have “thumbs” or “fingers” on the ends of their tails. The answer is “no”; the little bit of naked tail that sticks out in varying lengths from the normally furry tails of our lemurs is a by-product of over grooming. The Red Ruffed lemurs will occasionally groom their tail tips by licking, chewing or rubbing at them with their fingers and subsequently, have removed tufts of fur from the ends. The naked bit of tail can bend and curl just like the rest of their tails, but it isn’t prehensile.
So what exactly is “prehensile”?
It’s defined as an appendage or organ found on a vertebrate animal that has the ability to grasp or hold.
Though the definition seems simple enough, it’s not always so black and white. Think about the tail of a Virginia Opossum or the lips on a rhino or donkey. They have the ability to grasp or manipulate objects, but can’t really hang on tightly. In those cases, the appendage is considered “semi-prehensile.”
Here are some examples of prehensile appendages in the animal world: new world monkey tail (like Spider Monkeys), octopus arms, chameleon feet, prehensile-tailed porcupine tails, Giraffe tongues, primates with a thumb have prehensile hands and sygnathidae tails.
Here are a few more “semi-prehensile” appendages: elephant trunk tip, camel lips and snake tails.
In my Caterpillars post, I talked about getting stung by one. In this post, I will show you a couple of other caterpillars that I found in Explore the Wild.
Once I found one caterpillar, which was a saddleback, my eyes began to see all the other caterpillars that are out in the area.
This caterpillar (above) was on the climbing structure in the lemur yard. I found it while I was putting the morning food out for the Ring-tailed lemurs.
This caterpillar (below) was on the water bowl in the wolf side cages.
Next time that you are outside, take a closer look at the plants or even different structures and you might see a caterpillar.