Explore the Wild: Lemurs and Tortoises
Located in Explore the Wild, the Museum’s lemur enclosure is home to 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. Ring-tailed lemurs and radiated tortoises are both native to Madagascar, and both are considered endangered species.
In bad weather, or when the temperatures are too extreme, our ring-tailed lemurs can choose to stay inside. Temperatures vary more in North Carolina than in Madagascar and the lemurs are most comfortable at temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees. In the winter, the tortoises 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. For our lemurs and tortoises, sharing a habitat with animals that are native to the same area provides a more natural experience, more akin to what they might experience in the wild. Exposure to other species can add variety in an animal’s daily routine, offer stimulation, and even help encourage problem solving behaviors.
Conservation at the Museum
The lemurs and tortoises living at the Museum are both part of Species Survival Plans (SSP), a collection of zoos and nature centers around the United States committed to the conservation of endangered animals. The SSPs make breeding and non-breeding recommendations to ensure genetic diversity and work on projects that involve education, veterinary care, and field research.