Lemur catta: Ring-Tailed Lemur

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Nutrition

Ring-tailed lemurs are opportunistic omnivores, with their diets consisting of  70% of fruits (which helps to quench their thirst) and the other 30% consists of leaves, flowers, bark, sap, some insects, etc.  The Tamarina tree is a significant food source, providing a year-round food supply.  Ring-tailed lemurs sit on their hind legs and hold fruit in their hands.  They bite off small pieces with their back teeth so that all of the juice runs into their mouth, savoring every last drop.  Because some live in arid environments, these lemurs get water from succulent plants and water that accumulates in crevices. 

 

Photograph - Chris Lee 2004     Location - Grangewood Zoo

 

Photograph - Chris Lee 2004     Location - Colchester Zoo

Photograph - Chris Lee 2004     Location - Colchester Zoo

Ring-tailed lemurs have similar digestive systems to other primates that harvest all usable nutrients from their food.  Any excesses get stored as fat.

Equipped with a closed circulatory system, lemurs are able to transport nutrients and oxygen to their entire body and carry away wastes effectively.  Like all other mammals, their circulatory system consists of two circuits and a four-chambered heart.  The  blood is completely contained within blood vessels and flows in a complete circuit.  Blood flow can also be directed to specific parts of the body to help with specialized activities;  for example, blood flows to vessels around the intestines after eating.   The presence of a closed circulatory system also helps to support the lemur's active lifestyle.