Reproductive biology

All species of Lemuridae mate from April through June, the females have a gestation period of about 4.5 months and give birth from August through October, generally coinciding with the beginning of the monsoon season. When plant growth resumes, animals wake from torpor and new food becomes available.

The females of all the Lemuridae genera except Varecia have but one pair of mammae, while Varecia carries six pairs. A female reaches sexual maturity at two years old and usually starts bearing young, annually, in her third year. There are generally one or two young per birth, although

Two female crowned lemurs (Lemur coronatus) feed on bark. (Photo by Harald Schütz. Reproduced by permission.)
A ringtailed lemur (Lemur catta) feeding on baobab. (Photo by Harald Schütz. Reproduced by permission.)

Varecia may have up to six young (and six mammae to feed them all).

For the first four weeks of life a newborn young rides beneath the mother's body, gripping the ventral fur and hugging the torso. After the fourth week, the youngster switches to riding on the mother's back. At about one month of age it starts wandering and exploring on its own. In two months, it begins sampling solid food, and until weaning—at about five to six months—will gradually replace its milk diet with solid food. The exact timing of these different stages of development may vary among species.

Lemurs in the wild can live perhaps 20 years. The record for longevity in captivity among Lemuridae is 39 years for a hybrid of Lemur macaco and Lemur fulvus.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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