Impossible to confuse with any other lemur species, the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) is a distinctive primate with a long, bushy, black-and-white ringed tail. A medium-sized lemur, it is the most terrestrial of Madagascar’s primates.
The ring-tailed lemur’s dense fur is greyish-brown on the back and grey on the rump and limbs. The underparts are cream to off-white, and the neck and crown are dark grey. The ring-tailed lemur has a white face with large, dark triangular patches around the eyes, a dark snout, and large, white, well-furred ears. Dark black skin is visible on the ring-tailed lemur’s nose, eyelids, lips and feet. This species’ distinctive tail is longer than the head and body, and is tipped with black. Male and female ring-tailed lemurs are similar in appearance and body size.
The only species in its genus, the ring-tailed lemur receives its genus name, Lemur, from the Latin for ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit’, and its species name catta in reference to its cat-like form.