Explore the Wild: Lemurs and Tortoises
As well as native animals, Explore the Wild hosts two endangered species from Madagascar: seven ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) and five radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata). Watch the lemurs scale climbing structures and balancing ropes. Keep your eyes out for the tortoises as they make their way among the grass. A guest-operated zoom camera provides close-up views of these highly active, lively primates and their slower, lower habitat mates.
In Madagascar, temperatures usually stay between 50° and 90° F. On very hot, cold, or rainy days, our ring-tailed lemurs may choose to stay inside. The tortoises move indoors each winter and can be seen at the indoor viewing window.
Living Together is Enrichment
Mixed species exhibits can be beneficial for animals in museum and zoo settings. Ring-tailed lemurs and radiated tortoises share a habitat in Madagascar, and they are comfortable sharing space at the Museum as well. Exposure to other species can add variety in an animal’s daily routine, offer stimulation, and help encourage problem-solving behaviors.
Conservation at the Museum
These lemurs and tortoises aren’t native to Durham, but many live here in human care. Southwest Madagascar is threatened by habitat loss, poaching, and climate change. This Museum is part of a worldwide effort to protect the ring-tailed lemur and radiated tortoise. Zoos and museums work together to ensure genetic diversity and support education, veterinary care, and field research for these rare animals.