Collared lemurs live in the humid forests of Southeastern Madagascar. They share their habitat with the more dominant ring-tailed lemurs and are often roused by the more aggressive lemur breed to move to other trees, though they are usually able to protect their chosen territories.
Collared lemurs eat fruit, leaves, flowers and insects which are common to their tropical forest habitat. As opportunistic feeders, they have been known to eat whatever is available in their environment including toxic plants and bird’s eggs. This behavior increases with the reduction of the food sources due to deforestation.
Like most other lemurs, collared lemurs live in family groups of three to twelve individuals. These groups include both adult and young collared lemurs. The groups also include both males and females. Unlike many other lemurs, collared lemur groups are not matriarchal in nature.
Since collared lemurs live high in the trees of these tropical forests, they have developed strong tails which they use to swing from limb to limb and tree to tree. Males of the species usually scent mark a territory range which spans a region of between 17 and 50 acres of forest.
Collared lemurs are diurnal creatures, which means they are most active during the day and sleep at night.
This species shares it’s habitat with a variety of flora and fauna exclusive to this small region of the island of Madagascar. Such animals include the hissing tortoise, fossa, and radiated tortoise. Within it’s region, the collared lemur is immensely valuable as a seed-disperser of large-seeded fruit trees. It is possible that this species is the only remaining natural seed-disperser for these trees.
The habitat of the collared lemur is in a very restricted area of endangered land in southern Madagascar. The region is under pressure from habitat loss due to slash-and-burn agricultural practices as well as from individuals hunting for food and trapping for the pet trade. The Wildlife Conservation Society has been working to preserve the habitat of the collared lemur for more than ten years. Part of this program has been in conjunction with the Bronx Zoo, a partial setting for the popular children’s movie “Madagascar.”
The collared lemur has also been introduced into the Berenty Reserve in southern Madagascar. The presence of this species at a nature reserve on the island protects the existence of the collared lemur in a natural habitat. Many collared lemurs also live in captivity in zoos around the world.