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.
After lunch everyday we head out to our respective areas and do afternoon checks. The ring-tailed lemurs have been enjoying their outside exhibit. I snapped some pictures during check recently. Sometimes all they do is sleep and sometimes they are climbing trees this is what they were doing on this particular day…
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.
Recently I added a hammock to the Ring Tailed Lemur indoor stalls. I have seen both Cassandra and Satyrus snuggled up together in it but when I reached for my camera they jumped up. I got lucky the other day and snapped a pic of Lycus lounging in it.
I was working for Keeper Jill this past Saturday (who was attending the AAZK conference) and wanted do some fun enrichment for the Bears and for me to watch. So I used a bunch of empty boxes and filled them with their p.m. food and some extra treats. It wasn’t very eventful but it was interesting to see how each of them accessed their boxes differently. Gus just shoved his head right in! Mimi carefully pulled back the tabs on the boxes. Virginia pushed all the tabs into the box and Yona had her box on it’s side.
I’ve posted about lemur training before and wanted to give an update.
Ring Tailed Lemur physicals are in September! That’s so soon. But we are making progress. Lycus actually had to be seen earlier than expected. I noticed a change in his eyes, a white cloudiness. We had a few days until Dr. Vanderford would be able to see Lycus so I began using the ophthalmoscope (a lighted instrument that is used to exam the inside of the eye) during training. Luckily, they are curious little animals so it didn’t take long for me to be able to hold up the ophthalmoscope and shine the light into their eyes.
To exam Lycus’ eyes Dr.V came down to the lemur building, we actually have shelves on each stall door. I called Lycus up to the shelf and she checked out his eyes while I supplied the treats. She also checked out Cassandra’s eyes, for comparison. Dr. V thought it was best to have Dr. English come check out Lycus.
For Dr. English‘s visit we had to bring Lycus down to the vet room, which is in the main building. That meant being crated and a ride in the vehicle. Dr. English confirmed that Lycus, who is 27, has old age related cataracts. Although it was earlier than expected, Lycus did very well. In fact, two days later I tried crate training (while crossing my fingers) and he went right in without issue. Him and I have been taking short rides in the vehicle as part of training. He’s doing great!
Julie Grimes and I plan on bringing Lycus to the vet room and using training to call him out of his crate. With hopes that he doesn’t bounce around the room and that he goes back into his crate on his own.
So that’s were we are at. I feel like Cassandra is ready to take some short rides in the vehicle and Satyrus has been doing great as well.
Normally, we do not post blogs for an animals birthday, there would be way too many entries and too many cakes to bake. However, this month is special for one of our Red Ruffed lemurs,Cynthia. This promsimian turns the big 3-0! That’s right, 30 years old! Another primate turning 30 around here is Keeper Kim. Normal lifespan for a lemur in captivity is early 20s. Another older lemur we have is Lycus, who was born in 1985.
We have other animals which are older but we cant prove it because we do not have the birth records, we have an arrival date but not a birth date. Misha, the red tailed hawk arrived in 1993, we know he was at least 2 years old because he had lost his juvenile feathers. Two of our barred owls arrived in 1989 and were adults as well.These birds can live into their 30s. When it comes to snakes, we have a rattle snake that arrived in 1990 at the age of 8. We cant forget about our oldest bear Ursula , who just turned 20 this year and some of the turtles we don’t even have an arrival date on.
Last week Dr. Vanderford was here for vet rounds. The ring tailed lemurs got their physicals. Cassandra had her brush with death over the summer, and is doing AMAZINGLY WELL- you would never know there were any issues! A couple photos below from Dr. Vanderford cleaning Casandra’s teeth. All three ring tailed lemurs were checked out and are doing well. It’s no huge surprise that Lycus, our oldest and 25 year old ring tailed lemur, has some teeth worn down. The red ruffed lemurs received their annual physical last month and the three of them are doing well too.
Lycus is one of the oldest lemurs we have, and is a favorite among some of the keepers. He was born at the Duke Lemur Center in March of 1985, and came to live at the museum in October of 2005. He lives with two other ring-tailed lemurs, Cassandra and her son Satyrus. It is hard to tell the three apart, so they all have different colored bands on their tracking collars. But Lycus is the easiest to tell apart because he has a distinctive bump on his chin and a white patch of fur on his left shoulder.
You can learn a lot more about lemurs by visiting this website, or you can take a tour at the Duke Lemur Center and see a wide array of lemur species there!