Cassandra and Satyrus getting apple rings for food enrichment. I think it was a hit!
The lemurs get front-lined every month, just like your dog at home. For the Ring Tailed Lemurs, I have goals of making this a trained behavior so that application goes smoothly. Right now it’s more like a “sneak attack” approach. So I began by teaching them the behavior- Wall. What I expected from them was to hop onto a stool and place both hands on the wall. To train this behavior, I started with stool- they already have a Jump behavior, so that was no problem. Next, I pointed to the wall, they are used to Left Hand, Right Hand so often when they see my finger pointing they try to grab it. I would pull my hand back a bit, leaving them touching the wall. I taped a square onto the wall and that is ultimately where I want their hands to be placed.
The stool is kinda low and the lemurs do not enjoy people leaning over them. So I brought a table into their stall. When they are on the table we are closer in height and I don’t need to lean over them. Now we are working on liking the table. (pictures below)
Hopefully this will eventually turn into a great husbandry behavior and make applying front-line easier for both lemurs and keepers.
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…
If you are a regular visitor you may have noticed a change at lemurs. The ring tailed lemurs are now in the inside exhibit and the red ruffed lemurs will spend their estrus cycle off exhibit. We made the switch on one of our closed Mondays. In terms of animal stress it was minimal. All lemurs spent a lot of time exploring their new areas. I snapped several great pictures of the ring tailed lemurs checking out every square inch of their new exhibit. They climbed on everything they possibly could! I stayed up there with them to monitor their exploration, making sure they didn’t get hurt during their excitement. Now that their exhibit is no longer novel, they have been enjoying snuggling up together in a lemur ball on the ground. Look down and to your left if you don’t immediately see them. Click here to see how the red ruffed lemurs are doing off exhibit.
It’s been awhile since I’ve updated and we’ve seen a lot of progress. My last post was about Cassandra exploring the vet room. We allowed her to do this once more and it went about the same as the first time. I believe the second time, she took longer to come down, seemed like she was enjoying exploring too much. Before that I wrote about crate training, which has been my biggest goal with the ring-tailed lemurs. (now it’s our biggest goal with the red ruffed lemurs too, check back for future posts about that)
Their physicals were way back in September, on that particular day I was only able to crate Cassandra. The boys both went into their crate but then bounced right back out, Sherry said catching them was very easy that day. We also changed where the lemurs wait for sedation. We started using a metal cage located in the vet room. It’s roomier which makes it easier to get the lemur out of.
This is an added part of crate training. I bring the lemurs into the building and then open this cage and their crate door and ask them to go inside. I have also been practicing this behavior with the lemurs down at the lemur house. We took an extra vet room cage and placed it inside their holding space in the lemur house. It’s big and silver and makes a lot of noise when the jump on it, but the good news is, this behavior is working. They are not afraid of it and have no problems climbing all over and inside of it, making their visit to the vet room much less stressful.
About a week later we needed to get blood work on Cassandra again. It was very easy to crate her using training which made everything run smoother. Then in November I noticed Lycus was holding his left hand across his chest. It seemed like a shoulder injury. Dr V came in to check him out and decided she wanted to do hands on with him. This meant getting him into the crate and bringing him to the building. Using training it was super easy. I still practice crate training a couple times a week. It has helped the process of vet visits tremendously and it’s something I want to continue working on. Next challenge is crate training the red ruffed lemurs.
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.