It’s horrible news to report: We found Lycus dead this morning. He was very old, but this was a shock as he had been acting as he typically does.
There’s nothing much more to say, but wanted folks to know.
This week the red ruffed lemurs got their annual physicals.
All three girls- Cynthia, Iris, and Jethys- did great. Each one, from pre-sedation to reversal took 37 minutes. We’re waiting for blood work to come back, but everyone’s initial findings seemed to be okay. Our girls are getting old so I always have concerns about what the tests will show. Cynthia is almost 32 years old. The Duke lemur center only has one red ruffed lemur older than her.
Katy was running a rectal thermometer and an ear thermometer to see if the temperatures were the same (which they were).
Hopefully all the blood work comes back okay! In September, we’ll do physicals on the ring tailed lemurs. (More pictures then.
Who doesn’t like enrichment videos??
Cereal strung up into a cotton mop head is one of my favorite enrichment items to watch our lemurs interact with. Personally, I think stringing a whole bunch of tiny pieces of cereal onto a mop head is tedious and not at all fun, but the result is worth it. Below are a couple videos I took of the Ringtails and Red Ruffeds spending some quality time with their favorite mops.
This is one of my favorite enrichment items for lemurs. We hang these small bags on the branches and put just a few pieces of dried fruit in each one. It’s quite cute to watch them go through the bag. I tried to get a picture of each of our 6 lemurs using their enrichment.
The red ruffed lemurs have been off exhibit since December. We have just a couple of weeks left until it is warm enough for the ring tailed lemurs to be outside during the day and the red ruffed lemurs to move upstairs, on exhibit. Here is where we were last time I updated about training- click here.
While our focus was going to be crate training we also added the behavior of station. Station is a way to 1) separate the lemurs if necessary 2) keep a lemur in one spot while working with the others. The red ruffed have access to three stalls. In each stall we have a shelf attached to the door. These shelves are where we would like the lemurs to ‘station’. But how do they know which one of them should station on which shelf? Great questions- we hang up symbols on the doors, above the shelves. Each lemur has their own specific symbol. Stationing is going great!
Crate training is also going well. The door has been shut on Cynthia and we’re very close to shutting the door on Jethys and Iris.
The ring tailed lemurs are still doing great with their crate training. Dr English will visit in the next few months and our oldest lemurs Lycus (almost 28) and Cynthia (almost 32) will have to be crated and brought to the building to get their eyes checked out.
Back when people first explored Madagascar there was a 400 lb lemur the size of a gorilla! Unfortunately, due to hunting this species was quickly wiped out. Today the largest living lemur is the Indri.
This lemur is two and a half feet in length and typically weighs 13-15 lbs. It’s a diurnal lemur that feeds on canopy fruit and leaves and travels through the tree tops, often leaping 30 feet between tree trunks! They are known for their very distinct songs and sounds. These songs can be heard over a mile away and can last up to 3 minutes at a time.
They live in small family groups of 2-6 individuals. Indri lemurs typically live to be 15-18 years old but can live into their 20′s.
Their reproduction is quite different than other lemurs. Reaching sexual maturity later in life, around ages 7 to 9, as well as having offspring only every 2-3 years equals a low birth rate. With it’s population already low, habitat loss and hunting only add to the dwindling numbers of Indri lemurs. This lemur is very hard to keep in captivity which makes breeding programs hard to come by. This lemur is listed as Endangered.
You would think that being native to Madagascar makes it a breeze for our lemurs during the summer. However, it gets much hotter in North Carolina than it would in the treetops of the Malagasy jungle, so we have air conditioning for the indoor areas- keeping the temperatures around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keepers watch the Farmyard animals closely too. Some of the exhibit areas have big shady trees, for others we add umbrellas that the animals can stand under. Shade cloth is added to the top of our hawk and owl cages. Fans go up in every window. We check water levels at least three times each day, adding “water balloon ice cubes” to keep the water cool. Rabbits, the ones most susceptible to heat issues, get frozen water bottles to lean up against.
So be safe and try to stay cool.
…Helps the medicine go down!
Keeper Jill wrote a post “Time for your medicine” about all the tricks we use to get animals to take their medicine. She posted pictures of the Red Ruffed Lemurs taking some meds.
The Ring Tailed Lemurs aren’t so easy! But I found a very easy mix of mashed lemur chow and banana that seems to mask their dewormer enough for them to eat it.
Cross your fingers and hope they eat it all
Happy 1.5 year anniversary to Kimberly being a keeper at the Museum! For regular blog readers, you’ve already got to know Kimberly quite well by reading her posts. She’s passionate about lemurs, animal training, and the natural world. She has a lot of cats at home. She works hard and loves being an animal keeper. Even through some rather difficult health issues in the recent past, she’s still pretty positive and cheery.
What you might not know about Kimberly is that she has her bachelors degree in biology from UNC Wilmington. She spent time at the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas and the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque. She’s done an internship with arachnids so she doesn’t mind being around spiders. While in New Mexico, she spent most of her time doing animal programs and training hoof stock. She and a fellow keeper trained a hippo to open it’s mouth so its tooth could be trimmed (ask her to write about that please!).
We thankfully stole her away from the word of caring for children- some might say a much harder job than being an animal keeper. Getting rave reviews from the parent’s of the children she cared for was what sealed the deal to offer her a Keeper job.
She takes her job here very seriously- always thinking of the health and well being of the animals she works with and is not afraid to hold visitors in check for treating the critters poorly. I’m happy she’s been with us for one and half years and look forward to the next one and a half and many more.
While I still have a lot to learn about Kimberly, there’s one thing I want to know now: she told me she prefers to be called Kimberly, but others call her Kim. What do you think that is about?