UPDATED November 10, 2015

BY Henry Gold

IN Featured Story, Magical Madagascar


UPDATED November 10, 2015

BY Henry Gold

IN Featured Story, Magical Madagascar


8 Things You Didn’t Know About Lemurs (and why you should cycle Madagascar)

Not too long ago I wrote a blog about why you should pack your bags and cycle Madagascar. When writing the blog I thought, wait a second – if truth be known, lemurs deserve additional 8 reasons why you should pack your bags and check them out.

1. Lemurs are Castaways

14442691625_c188f82de7_zCREDIT: Maëlick on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Lemurs came to Madagascar as castaways from Africa millions of years ago. Their ancestors in Africa have long ago disappeared. So those who caught a ride on a piece of debris during one heck of a hurricane made what looked then like a very risky choice that paid off handsomely. Smart move!


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2. They Dance!

15818459580_427268ef77_zCREDIT: nomis-simon on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Take a look at this short video of Shifas Lemur dancing. Is there another animal anywhere that can do this?

3. A Matriarchal Society

9613088087_b6d6fa2a07_zCREDIT: Bernard DUPONT on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

 This is particularly interesting to at least 50% of humanity and probably much more. Lemurs are a matriarchal society where alpha females lead and even the lowest female ranks are higher than any male one. And as we know, media is predominantly controlled by males so it is no wonder that Madagascar is not often on anyone’s itinerary. I mean people may get ideas.

4. They Can Sing Too!

14085122692_32dcb3a5c0_zCREDIT: Susanne Nilsson on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Not only can lemurs dance but the Indri (aka Babakoto – one of the largest living lemurs) can sing! The indri is well known for its loud, distinctive songs, which can last from 45 seconds to more than 3 minutes. Can any other animal do that?

5. Blue Eyed Beauties

3531513951_d68d5caed2_zCREDIT: Jean on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

When you think of blue eyes you probably think of some celebrity with coloured contact lenses. But do you want to see some terribly handsome blue eyes that occur naturally only in the rainforest? Than check blue eyed lemur also known Sclater’s rumor.

6. Hollywood Celebrities


Even Hollywood has recognized the appeals of Lemurs, check out such popular films as Madagascar, Lemur Kingdom or Lemur Street in UK and then there award winning documentaries such as Marvel of Madagascar, Madagascar – a tree top odyssey, Imax The Greatest Places, Animals of Madagascar, David Attenborough’s Madagascar, and so on. And then there is famous author William Burroughs book called Ghost of Chance, where the main character discovers a utopia based around the protection of Madagascar land and of course the lemurs.

7. Lemurs are Smart


Lemurs are not only handsome, they are also really smart. When we think of smart animals we usually either think of our domesticated pets or we think of apes and monkeys. But lemurs not only share our trait of opposable thumbs, but according to Mentalfloss.com “lemurs have the ability to learn patterns, and they even have object discrimination skills. They’re also capable of learning tasks that are often too complex for apes and monkeys, like organizing sequences from memory and performing simple arithmetic. They can also be trained to use tools.”

8. They Need Your Help


One more thing. Because they are smart, good looking, can sing and dance we humans are not to kind to them and they are disappearing at a very fast rate. Until a few hundred years ago there were lemurs in Madagascar as big as gorillas. So look up some organizations who are trying to preserve their habitats and make a donation or two. After all humans made it to Madagascar probably only between 200 BC to 500 AC years ago, so we all need to do something. (Read Vice News: There’s a New Plan to Save Madagascar’s Lemurs From the Brink of Extinction).


lead photo credit: Tambako The Jaguar on Flickr , CC BY-ND 2.0

2 Comments for "8 Things You Didn’t Know About Lemurs (and why you should cycle Madagascar)"

The author needs to check his/her grammar (… “than check blue eyed”?? And others!) AND research skills. Since when is mentalfloss.com reliable? Chimpanzees are the closest to humans in terms of intelligence. Madagascar and lemurs do sound interesting though!

    And Sclater’s rumor or Sclater’s lemur?

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