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Lemurs: Lemuridae

Physical Characteristics

Lemur males and females are about the same size. Lemurs weigh 4.4 to 10 pounds (2 to 4.5 kilograms), depending on species, with the mongoose lemur being the smallest. Adult head and body length is 11 to 22 inches (28 to 56 centimeters). Thickly furred lemur tails are from 11 to 22.5 inches (28 to 65 centimeters) long.

For jumping ease, lemurs have strong hind or back limbs which are longer than their forelimbs, or front legs. For better branch hold, thumbs and big toes are set at an angle to the other digits, or fingers and small toes. The palms of the hands and soles of the feet are deeply ridged, or creased, adding to strong branch grip. A clawlike grooming nail is present on the second toe of each hind foot. It is used to clean their fur.

Lemurs have foxlike heads with long muzzles, or nose areas. Large, round, owl-like eyes can be bright red, orange, yellow, or blue. Ears are medium size. Special comb-shaped front teeth are used for grooming in addition to the grooming nail. Lemurs lick their noses to keep them clean and damp. This helps with odor sensing.

Lemurs can be brown, gray, black, and reddish, often with mixed colors. For example, the ruffed lemur is black and white, and the red ruffed lemur is flame-red with a black face and a white neck patch. Lemur fur is thick and soft. Males and females may look alike, or quite different, depending on the species.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsLemurs: Lemuridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Ringtailed Lemur (lemur Catta): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, LEMURS AND PEOPLE