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What’s that smell? A lemur stink fight!

Hey all! Seasonal Primate Keeper Sam here to talk about our ringtailed lemurs and a natural behavior called “stink fighting.” We have two ringtailed lemurs here at the Zoo, males Julius and his half-brother, Neal. You can visit them as you are walking through The Living Treehouse.

Ringtailed lemurs sometimes find themselves competing for food, territory, or even a potential mate. Male ringtails have scent glands on their wrists and shoulders and will use these in a way to resolve conflict that doesn’t involve any potential injury. A “stink fight” occurs when a male who is feeling threatened secretes a clear liquid through the glands on his wrists. He rubs his tail between his wrists and then proceeds to wave his tail through the air to distribute the smell. They will continue with this behavior until one lemur decides to give up and run away. Luckily for us, research hasn’t shown if the odor can be detected by the human nose.

So next time you find yourself peering down into the lemur habitat, check out our ringtails and see what they’re up to!

Samantha L.
Seasonal Keeper, Primates

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