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Animal Data > Alaotran Gentle Lemur

(Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis)

Status Distribution Sexually Mature
Critically Endangered By Lake Alaotra, Madagascar 24 months
Number of Young Gestation Life Span
1 150 days 12 years

The Alaotran gentle lemurs are only found inhabiting the reed beds around Lake Alaotra. They are most active in the mornings and evenings, rarely coming to the ground, as they are able to jump considerable distances from branch to branch. They swim very well and may be semi-aquatic.

In the wild the young are born in January and February and are carried on their mothers' backs from the moment of birth.

Alaotran gentle lemur have several vocalisations - a weak grunt to maintain the group, a strong call for distant communication and a powerful 'creee' in threat situations.

They eat 10 species of plant, including the shoots and leaves of the reed Phragmites communis. Their teeth have specially adapted serrated cutting edges to help them with this coarse vegetation.

There are several threats facing the wild population of Alaotran gentle lemur, particularly as they are only found in such a small area.

  • There is an annual burning of the reed beds, destroying the animals' habitat.
  • The lemurs are caught for food as they flee from the fire.
  • The lake is being drained for rice irrigation.
  • The papyrus and the reeds are being cut for mats, fencing etc.
  • The lemurs are captured for sale as pets. As pets they survive for an average of 2 months.

The Malagasy name for the Alaotran gentle lemur is bandro.

Main Features

The gentle lemur has grey - brown fur, a short muzzle and short, hairy ears. The hands and feet are short and broad with large pads under the tips of the toes and fingers.

In Captivity

The gentle lemurs at Marwell have an indoor and an outdoor area. Inside there are boxes and shelving, and hanging baskets in which they nest.Outside they have a pool and some bamboo branching to simulate the reeds. The area is planted with grasses that may be eaten. They are also fed with special leaf-eater pellets along with fresh fruit and vegetables.

©2009 Marwell Wildlife