Ring-tailed lemurs have distinctive bushy tail with alternating bands of black and white rings. Their tails can reach lengths of up to 25 inches. They also have black, pointed muzzle, which is typical among the various species of lemur.
These lemurs prefer more open areas, such as rocky plains and desert areas, and typi-cally travel on the ground, although they will sometimes walk on large limbs in trees. This differentiates them from other lemur species, which prefer forested areas and travel almost exclusively in trees.
Similar to cats, Ring-tailed lemurs have reflective layer in the back of their eyes. This allows them to have excellent night vision. Their tails are highly scented, and are used to warn other lemurs of approaching danger. The tails are also an integral part of the mating process. The males will use their scent to try and attract the females, and vicious "stink fights " can often erupt within the group..
Ring-tailed lemurs live in groups of between five and thirty members. They have distinct hierarchies that are enforced by frequent, aggressive confrontations between members. Females, who stay in the group for their entire lives, dominate the group. Males will often change groups at least once during their lifetime.
Living in arid habitats, Ring-tailed lemurs quench their thirst with juicy fruits. They will also eat leaves, flowers, insects, and tree gum.
Like most lemurs, Ring-tails have only one baby,although twins or even triplets are common when food is plentiful. Newborns are quite helpless and are carried around by the mother in her mouth until they can hold on to her fur by themselves. They will then ride around on the mother's back. They first begin to climb after about three weeks, and are usually independent after six months. They can live for up to 27 years in the wild.