Staff Writer: Allison Hudgins

Photo of two lemurs at Duke Lemur Center. Photo taken by Allison Hudgins.

The University of Lynchburg’s animal behavior class took a field trip to Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina last Thursday to learn more about the Madagascaran animal. 

Duke Lemur Center houses the largest number of lemurs outside of their native home of Madagascar, working to advance their research through non-invasive practices. 

Due to the variety of species housed in the center, students were able to put the knowledge they have learned in class into practice by observing the various behaviors of each animal. 

For example, Ring-tailed lemurs are the most territorial and in this group, the females are dominant. 

Students observed the animals and noted how cute they are despite their comparable behaviors.

On social media people are sharing that they keep lemurs and other animals, like bush babies as pets. Student, Sonia Moore believes that it is dangerous and unhealthy to keep these animals as pets. 

“Well for one, I’m pretty sure the people buying lemurs as pets are not as smart as the lemurs themselves. Well that and they’re very territorial… They see you as lemurs then they’ll try to fight with you,” says Moore. 

Moore enjoyed noticing the active behavior of the ring-tailed lemur and declared it as her favorite from the collection of lemurs.

Hayden Deans, another student in the Animal Behavior course believes that all students can benefit from visiting the lemur exhibit, regardless of if they are enrolled in the sciences.

“They are really cool to see, they’re not something you can just walk around and see day-to-day, or really walk anywhere around America and see. So I think it’s a really unique experience,” says Dean.  

Dean admired the community influence of Ring-tailed lemurs and the way they travel in large groups. 

In addition to the ring-tailed lemur, students were also able to see the Fat-tailed Dwarf lemur, Mohol bushbaby and the Mouse lemur all of which are nocturnal. 

The nocturnal lemurs are kept in a red-lit, quiet room where the lemurs are kept behind a shade that is handled by a tour guide. 

The red light is used to make the lemurs more comfortable when they were being viewed during the day. 
Currently the Duke Lemur Center is doing research on Mouse lemurs as they have similar neurological disorders of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which is common in older humans.

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