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Sportive Lemurs: Lepilemuridae

Behavior And Reproduction

Sportive lemurs are nocturnal, moving about at night. They often gather in groups between the hours of twilight and darkness before moving on to their separate feeding territories, or areas. During the day, they sleep curled up in a ball within a hollow tree, in thick leafy areas, or among vines. They may use the same nesting area for several years. In the afternoon, they tend to stick their heads out of their hiding place, either watching their surroundings or napping.

Sportive lemurs have powerful, long, hind legs. They move by leaping from tree trunk to tree trunk, then clinging onto the tree trunk. Sportive lemurs may leap as far as 13 feet (4 meters) at a time. Large pads on their hands and feet help with holding on to tree trunks. They are also able to run on all four limbs, or hop on their two hind limbs. They can do this on tree branches or on the ground.

Male sportive lemurs often live alone. A mother and her children stay together. A male's territory includes that of several females. Males, and sometimes females, defend their territories from other sportive lemurs of the same sex by vocalizations, or sounds, body actions, chasing, or, if that doesn't succeed, fighting.


The koala lemur doesn't exist anymore—it is extinct. It weighed 88 to 176 pounds (40 to 80 kilograms) and had a quite large head and a short body, with front legs longer than the hind legs. All legs were somewhat curved, and hands and feet were quite long. The koala lemur would hold onto tree trunks, moving upward with short hops. When humans came to Madagascar, koala lemurs and their living areas were destroyed. They disappeared entirely by the 1500s.

Mating occurs at about eighteen months. Males will visit several females for mating purposes. Females are pregnant for four and a half months. One infant is born each year. Mothers may carry their young in their mouth as they leap from tree to tree, or leave them clinging onto branches while the mother hunts for food. At about one month the young start seeking food on their own. The young remain with the mother for about a year, until the next baby is born.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsSportive Lemurs: Lepilemuridae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Red-tailed Sportive Lemur (lepilemur Ruficaudatus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, BIOMES, HABITAT, SPORTIVE LEMURS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS