Madagascar is sometimes called Lemuria.
Here you can find 99 species and subspecies of lemurs, of which 39 were discovered quite recently, between 2000 and 2008. Lemurs have round, often very large and glowing in the dark eyes, elongated muzzle, long but not clinging, as happens with monkeys, tail, short front legs (they jump on two hind legs). They have a piercing voice, similar to the crying of a capricious child. At night in the woods, there are loud “Lemuria concerts”. Lemurs live in flocks on trees, eating insects and fruits.
In Madagascar and neighboring islands, the population considers lemurs to be sacred animals. There is a legend that once upon a time lemurs were humans, and then, living in the forest, they grew wool and turned into animals. When some careless lemur falls into a trap, a Malagasy man will surely release him and let him out, and if the lemur is wounded, he will heal him. When a peasant or hunter sees a lemur in the forest, he bows down and greets it as if he were a close relative.
This family includes mouse lemur – the smallest representative of primates (12 – 13 cm long), lying (reaching a length of 100 – 115 cm), as well as Katta, Mongo, etc. These nimble, mobile animals live mainly on trees in family groups, feed on fruits, insects, and lead a nightlife. The other family, the Indri, consists of short-tailed Indri, mossy Indri, and chilled Indri. Also, there is a strange creature with very tenacious front extremities, the arm.
Aye-aye – Daubentonia madagascariensis is the largest representative of the night primates. It has a brown color of white speckle and a large fluffy tail. The peculiarity of aye-aye that immediately catches the eye is the third finger on the front limbs. With this finger, the animal brushes the fur and uses it for drinking, extraction, and consumption of food. Experiments of scientists have shown that cuckolds, like bats, use echolocation when searching for food. The third finger of ai-ai captures sound waves that occur and spread in the thickness of the tree when it taps – so the beast tries to detect the larvae in the wood.
Cat lemur or ring-tailed lemur
Cat lemur or ring-tailed lemur – Lemur catta is the most famous species from the lemur family. It is a symbol of the island of Madagascar. The tail of a cat lemur is the main pride of this animal. If the body of a lemur reaches about 40 cm in length, the tail – all 55 centimeters! The Madagascar name of the cat’s lemur is poppies.
The inhabitants of Madagascar attribute amazing abilities to lemurs. For example, they believe that these animals know the secrets of healing: family members collect medicinal herbs and put them on top of the wounds of a sick congener. It is also said that female lemurs, before giving birth, weave a cradle of twigs and hang it on a tree, pre-laying on the bottom of the stones so that the cradle is not blown away by the wind.
Few people in the world know how to love as much as cat lemurs. When a family couple is formed, the bond lasts a lifetime. If one lemur dies, the other falls into terrible melancholy: life loses all meaning for him.
Lemurs have very sensitive skin: on the surface of the palm, there is a scalloped relief – a special formation of hollows and hills, thanks to which lemurs can “see with their hands.
A pack of cat lemurs usually includes 12-25 individuals. The group is headed by a dominant female and a male. Females dominate the males, their position in the hierarchy is stable. Mothers often rest in groups, tidying themselves up on forest bedding. Children at this time play, crawling from one female to another. It happens that one long-suffering female hangs three or four offspring at once, while the other, leaning towards her, lovingly licks them out. But the males have to constantly confirm their right to dominate in fights. Each member of the pack knows its place in the social hierarchy. In its complex society, lemurs have developed a sophisticated language through which they constantly communicate with each other.
Males use the smell, which emits armpit glands as a weapon. Before the fight, the male rubs their wrists, passes the tail between their legs, presses it to the chest, and pulls it between the wrists, so that he is well soaked in these secretions.
The smallest of Madagascan lemurs, our smallest relative is the mouse lemur, or the dwarf poppies Microcebus Mittermeier. It has a snub-nosed nose and large expressive eyes. The weight of these animals is 45-85 grams. Newborn babies are worn by the mother with her teeth grasping the skin on her side, and they never hang on it either from the bottom or on its back.
Indri and Sifaka
The family of Indri lemurs is very interesting. It has four species. Indri is the largest living lemur. The length of his body together with his head is about a meter. Indri is a magnificent jumper: he pushes away, sharply straightening his hind limbs, and standing in the air, flying over and over again in high jumps, moving from tree to tree. The most curious thing is that usually in such jumps and flights the animals have a tail in motion. And Indri does not have a tail – a small branch, but it does not interfere with its “giant swing”.
A relative of Indri is a Sifaka lemur. It jumps so well that it even lost the ability to run on all fours. His hind legs are much longer than his front legs, and if he sometimes comes down to the ground, he jumps in an upright position, repulsing with both feet.
At sunrise, in the morning hours, Indri and Sifaka are gentle in the sun, with lemurs raising their hands to the sky to warm them well. This prayer posture served lemurs for a long time as a “security card”: no animal worshippers were hunted. But now superstitious fears have disappeared, and nothing protects lemurs. Neither the fact that they are our relatives nor the fact that they are an endangered species.