Wild Fact #245 – A Powerful Scent – Ring-Tailed Lemur

Ring-Tailed Lemur

Photo by Alex Dunkel (Wikimedia)

We are going to be spending the entire week on a little island known as Madagascar. Thanks to Jamie for suggesting we explore this amazingly diverse island all week. In fact, he even picked out which animals we should be looking at. I guarantee by the end of the week, you will be looking for flights to Madagascar. Of course we are going to start off the week with the prize of this famous island, the Ring-Tailed Lemur. ┬áThis little animal native to our featured African island has been made popular in the west by Animal Planet’s hit series “Lemur Kingdom”…oh and I believe the cartoon world has also taken a liking to the Ring-Tailed Lemur as they have made appearances in shows like the hit movie, Madagascar.

Ring-Tailed Lemur

Photo by RadioFan (Wikimedia)

Can’t Miss This Lemur

Out of all the Lemur species, I think the Ring-Tailed is the easiest to identify. You just can’t miss their vibrant black and white striped tail and they are often a big hit in many zoos across the world. What you can’t see from the pictures but will also help you identify these creatures is there strong, powerful scent glands. That’s right, they are smelly! The unique scent they emit plays a major role in their life as they use it as a communication tool, a defence mechanism and of course during mating season. If you have a sense of smell then you will know when you have entered Ring-Tailed territory as these lemurs make sure they mark possible corner of their home.

The More Powerful Scent

During mating season, the male Ring-Tailed Lemurs will battle for the affection of the ladies by trying to be the smelliest animal in the forest. In an attempt to show dominance and power, the males will cover their long, vivid tails with as much scent as possible. At this point they will begin waving it through the air in an attempt to spread their smell as much as possible. The one with the most powerful scent wins the battle. While this may seem like a bizarre method to determine dominance it seems to work for these animals and just think of the time they save by not having to shower or bathe.


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