Common Name: Greater Bamboo Lemur
Scientific Name: Prolemur simus
Species: P. simus
The Greater Bamboo Lemur is one of the most exotic lemurs alive today. It’s the largest of Madagascar’s bamboo eating lemurs. It can grow up to almost eighteen inches and can weigh up to about 6 pounds. A very distinct feature of this animal is that it has very large, noticeable ear-tufts. They spend about half the day resting, ten hours a day eating and two hours a day traveling.
Generally, the Greater Bamboo Lemur is only found in Madagascar’s small south-central eastern forests. They mostly live in areas that have large amounts of woody bamboo. Some of them are found in small forest fragments that have little or no bamboo. Scientists have also found many fossils scattered around the island so the Greater Bamboo Lemur used to be widespread around the island. Also, Prolemur simus is one of the World's 25 Most Endangered Primates and may have the lowest chance of surviving in the wild.
Furthermore, the Greater Bamboo Lemur is threatened by slash and burn, illegal logging, cutting of bamboo, and is also hunted with sling shots. The population is rapidly decreasing and it is expected to be extinct in about 10 to 20 years. It is listed as critically endangered as of 1998.
The Greater Bamboo Lemur’s diet is mainly giant bamboo. If bamboo is scarce, they will be forced to eat either fruit or grass. The lemur’s digestive system is able to break down a highly poisonous compound called cyanide. Their typical daily dose is enough to kill humans, so scientists have been studying them to find out how. The Greater Bamboo Lemur does not have any predators except a fox called Fossa. Raptors are suspected to be a predator because they have been spotted frequently around bamboo.
I have learned some very interesting things about the Greater Bamboo Lemur. For example, infant lemurs would occasionally suck their thumbs. Sometimes, they would drop the best part of a giant bamboo. They are also the only lemur in which the male is dominant. Males have been seen to take away the pith away from females who have a hard time opening the bamboo stems.