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Ten facts to celebrate Chewie

One of the best parts of working with animals is watching the infants grow up into their own independent animals. Just a couple weeks ago, the Small Primate Team celebrated Chewie the crowned lemur’s first birthday. Here are 10 facts about Chewie to celebrate his milestone!

1. Chewie was born on “Star Wars Day” (May 4), so the keepers decided on the name Chewie in remembrance of Peter Mayhew who passed away in 2019 and was the actor who played Chewbacca in multiple movies.

2. Even though they are primates and have tails, lemurs aren’t actually monkeys. They are prosimians! There are over 100 species of lemurs in the wild, and they are all found on the island of Madagascar.

3. Here at Zoo Atlanta, Chewie lives with his mom Sava, dad Xonsu, older sister Sophie, and two other species of lemur: black-and-white-ruffed and ringtailed lemurs.

4. Chewie and the ringtailed lemurs can often be seen sitting next to each other and grooming one another.

5. We use positive reinforcement with all the primates. Chewie knows multiple behaviors so he can participate in his own health care, including standing on the scale for weekly weights.

6. His favorite snacks are green peppers, bananas and romaine lettuce.

7. While is a tan color now, Chewie was born grey (the same color as his mom and sister). His fur started slightly changing colors when he was about 3 weeks old.

8. At birth, he weighed about 40 grams. Today he weighs 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds). He is not done growing; he will be about 1.5 to 1.8 kilograms (3.3 to 4 pounds) when he is fully grown.

9. Here at Zoo Atlanta, the primates get enrichment multiple times a day. Chewie’s favorite enrichment items are objects he must manipulate to get a food item. Some of these items are Kong toys with fruit and PVC tubes with applesauce frozen in them.

10. Crowned lemurs are an endangered species as a result of habitat loss, predation and the pet trade. A simple way you can help is to remember that primates do not make good pets. When on social media, don’t share videos of primates unless they are from an accredited zoo or sanctuary.

The Living Treehouse is temporarily closed but during this first phase of our reopening, but when it opens again to our guests, be sure to visit all the lemurs, and wish Chewie a belated Happy Birthday!

Pam W.
Keeper II, Primates

(photo by Morgan W.)

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