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Sportive Lemurs: Lepilemuridae

Red-tailed Sportive Lemur (lepilemur Ruficaudatus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Red-tailed sportive lemurs, also called lesser weasel lemurs, measure about 11 inches (28.0 centimeters) long, including head and body. Their tail is 9.8 to 10.2 inches (25 to 26 centimeters), slightly shorter than body length. Weight is about 1.3 to 2.0 pounds (0.6 to 0.9 kilograms). Eyes are yellow. Upper fur is light gray-brown, with front fur reddish brown. Undersides are whitish.

Geographic range: Red-tailed sportive lemurs are found in southwestern Madagascar.

Habitat: Red-tailed sportive lemurs live in dry forests.

Red-tailed sportive lemurs may make their nests in holes in trees. (Photograph by Harald Schütz. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Red-tailed sportive lemurs usually eat leaves, but they also eat fruit. Because tough leaves are difficult to fully digest, these lemurs re-digest some of their waste matter, so they can obtain all the nutrition from their food.

Behavior and reproduction: Mating occurs about eighteen months of age. Male red-tailed sportive lemurs mate with several females during the mating season. Females are pregnant about four and a half months, giving birth to one baby per year. The young stay with their mother and follow her about until they are about one year old.

Red-tailed sportive lemurs are arboreal, living in trees. A female and her young live in individual tree hollows and tree nests. Males live alone, having home ranges, or activity areas, that overlap that of several females. During the first few weeks of a red-tailed sportive lemur's life, the mother carries it about in her mouth. Later, an infant clings to her fur. However, when she goes food searching, she often leaves her young clinging to a branch or in a tree hollow.

Red-tailed sportive lemurs are nocturnal, active at night. They are very territorial, protecting their feeding areas. Males make loud crow-like calls to tell other males that an area is already taken. Males, and sometimes females, defend their feeding territory with noise, threatening body movements, chases, and even fighting.

Red-tailed sportive lemurs and people: Red-tailed sportive lemurs are hunted for food.

Conservation status: Red-tailed sportive lemurs are Near Threatened due to habitat destruction by fire and overgrazing of cattle and goats as well as hunting. ∎

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