Duke Lemur Center

Hello World, Meet Hiddleston and Poots!


The Duke Lemur Center is proud to announce the births of two Blue-eyed Black Lemurs, one male – Hiddleston – and one female – Poots. Like many species in this genus, these lemurs are sexually dichromatic, meaning the the males and females are different colors (black and reddish brown respectively).

Named for actor Tom Hiddleston, Hiddleston was born to mother West and father Hopkins on March 24, 2013. He weighed a healthy 82 grams at birth. Poots, named for Imogen Poots, was born on March 27, 2013, to parents Margaret and Tarantino. Poots weighed 92 grams at birth. West and Margaret are first-time mothers, and both are doing a fantastic job with their new little ones.

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The successful births of Hiddleston and Poots contribute a great deal to the conservation of this species. The Duke Lemur Center currently houses North America’s only breeding females of Blue-eyed Black lemurs: West, Margaret and Foster. These females hold the key to the conservation of this species of lemur because of dramatic habitat loss in the wild and the limited breeding population in captivity. With expert care (and some very handsome Blue-eyed Black Lemur males), DLC is hoping for many more babies in the future to continue to preserve these rare, beautiful lemurs.

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Photos of Hiddleston (the reddish little guy) by David Haring. Photos of Poots (the lighter little guy in the first and last photos) Fallon Owens

Hold On Tight, Baby Sifaka!


Meet Beatrice of Swabia, the newest addition to a noble line of Coquerel’s Sifakas at Duke Lemur Center. She has a close-knit family: a five-year-old mother, Rodelinda, an eight-year-old father, Marcus, and an older sister, 23 month-old Bertha of Sulzbach. (Duke Lemur Center is certainly proud of their Sifakas: the whole family is named after Roman Emperors.)

Photo credits: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

Beatrice of Swbabia—Beatrice for short—is a healthy little heir. She weighed a respectable 107 grams at her birth on December 19th, and has since been growing in leaps and bounds.  She clings tightly to her mother, another sign of good health, but also spends some time with her father and sister who hold and groom the new baby.

Sifakas are named for their distinctive “shif-auk!” call.  They are known for their graceful sideways leaping across the ground, a dance that they share with ten other diurnal members of the lemur family Indriidae.


“Sifakas are really one of the Lemur Center’s flagship species,” says Andrea Katz, the Duke Lemur Center animal curator. The Duke Lemur Center was the first to ever successfully breed Sifakas. Only 56 Coquerel’s sifakas live in captivity. The Lemur Center owns every single one and manages them either on-site or through cooperative breeding loans with 9 other institutions across the United States. 

“We’ve learned a lot over the years about sifaka behavior, breeding behavior, mother-infant behavior… I think it’s fair to say that the Lemur Center is really viewed as the expert on Sifaka breeding management.”

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Baby Mouse Lemur Season Finale!

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Back in July we brought you Duke Lemur Center's first batch of wriggling baby Mouse Lemurs! Today we officially bring the season to a close and what a successful one it's been! A total of twenty infants, ten males and ten females, have been born this summer with the last birth on August 10th. The oldest mouse moms were four year olds Oleander and Calendula and the youngest was 10 month old Nettle. 

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As an added bonus, Duke Lemur Center has also shared photos of their tiny Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur babies, marking the first successful birth of this species since 1987! This unique animal is the only tropical mammal as well as only primate anywhere known to hibernate. Unlike cold weather hibernators, the Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur appears to enter periods of dormancy during drought. While hibernating, this lemur lives off of stores of fat in its tail. Despite having a name that's a mouthful, this species is one of the smallest of all primates.

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Welcome to Baby Mouse Lemur Season!

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The Duke Lemur Center is smack-dab in the middle of baby Mouse Lemur season with seven little ones, born to four mothers, in the month of June alone. Four more Mouse Lemur females are pregnant so there are more of these feisty little guys on the way. The first photo shows a set of frantic Mouse Lemur triplets who arrived on June 5th. The second photo and video show a much calmer singleton. These four are named Bluebell, Blackberry, Pipkin and Dogbane.

Gray Mouse Lemurs are among the world's smallest primates, weighing only about 1/8th of a pound as adults At night this species hunts alone, leaping between thin branches in the treetops. By day they curl up in tree holes with up to fifteen other Mouse Lemurs to sleep in a furry heap. There are seventeen different species of Mouse Lemur, but they all look nearly the same, making research challenging. Only through genetic testing can scientists be sure of what species they are observing. 

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Three Little Lemurs Thriving at Duke Lemur Center


Red Ruffed Lemur triplets were born May 10 to mom, Pyxis, and dad, Hunter, at the Duke Lemur Center at Duke University in North Carolina. There are two males and one female and they are all healthy and well.  Whereas last week Pyxis was still carrying them in her mouth, and on nice days might take them to a high shelf on her outdoor habitat,  they are now at the stage where they are making their first independent, albeit clumsy, forays away from their mom and the laundry basket that has served as their nest.

Hunter has been locked inside from free-ranging and is living in an adjacent area. He has been introduced to Pyxsis and their offspring. While he doesn’t interact with them much, he does appear to stand guard over them on the rare occasions when Pyxis leaves to eat. Male guarding behavior in Ruffed Lemurs is fairly common.

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Photo Credit: Duke Lemur Center

Aye-Aye Aye!


Late last year, on November 29, The Duke Lemur Center welcomed, Elphaba, a baby Aye-aye. There have been 28 total Aye-aye births at the Lemur Center starting with the first in 1992. Elphaba weighed in at 586g just five days ago (pictured above at her exam). Little Elphaba is growing like a weed. Below are pictures of Elphaba back in late November at just three days old.

According to the Duke Lemur Center's page about Aye-aye Lemurs:

"Due to its bizarre appearance and unusual feeding habits, the Aye-aye is considered by many to be the strangest primate in the world. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. Unusual physical characteristics include incisors that are continually growing (unique among primates), extremely large ears, and a middle finger which is skeletal in appearance, and is used by the animal as a primary sensory organ."


Photo credits: David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

"Since a significant percentage of an aye-aye’s diet consists of insect larvae that dwell inside dead or living trees, the animals have evolved a specialized method for locating the larvae. As they walk along a branch, the animals continuously and rapidly tap it with their middle finger. Cupping their huge ears forward, the aye-aye listens intently to the echoing sounds coming from the tapped tree. When the sound indicates they are above an insect tunnel, the animals begin to tear off enormous chunks of the outer bark with their impressive teeth, until the insect tunnel is revealed. Then the aye-aye inserts its slender and highly flexible third finger into the hole, and when the prey is located, it is hooked with the tip of the finger and removed."