Bamboo lemur

The bamboo or gentle lemurs are the lemurs in genus Hapalemur. These medium-sized primates live exclusively on Madagascar. The greater bamboo lemur, formerly known as Hapalemur simus, was considered part of this genus, but is now classified as belonging to the genus Prolemur.


Lesser bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus)

The bamboo lemurs are characterized by a grey-brown fur, which varies by species. Their muzzles are short and their ears are round and hairy. Lengths vary from 26 to 46 cm, with tails just as long or longer, and they weigh up to 2.5 kg.

Bamboo lemurs prefer damp forests where bamboo grows. Although they can be active any time of the day, they are often active just after dawn. Though primarily arboreal, they sometimes come down to the ground. The Lac Alaotra gentle lemur or bandro (Hapalemur alaotrensis), which lives in the reed beds of Lac Alaotra, spends much of its time in water and can swim well, unlike other lemur species, which only venture to water to drink.

The lesser gentle lemurs live together in groups of three to five animals, which probably represent families composed of a male, one or two females, and their offspring. They communicate with a variety of sounds.

They are called bamboo lemurs because they almost exclusively eat bamboo. How bamboo lemurs can detoxify the high amounts of cyanide (from bamboo shoots) in their diets is unknown.[2]

Gestation lasts 135 to 150 days and ends between September and January, when the female bears one to two young. These are weaned after about four months (if the food supply is ample) and are fully mature at two years of age. Their life expectancy is up to 12 years.


As of 2010, the classification of bamboo lemurs lists five species and three subspecies.[3]


  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 116–117. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ Ankel-Simons, Friderun (2007). Primate Anatomy an Introduction (3rd ed.). Academic Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-12-058670-7. 
  3. ^ Mittermeier, R.A.; Louis, E.E.; Richardson, M.; Schwitzer, C.; Langrand, O.; Rylands, A.B.; Hawkins, F.; Rajaobelina, S.; Ratsimbazafy, J.; Rasoloarison, R.; Roos, C.; Kappeler, P.M.; MacKinnon, J. (2010). Lemurs of Madagascar. Illustrated by S.D. Nash (3rd ed.). Conservation International. pp. 315–316. ISBN 978-1-934151-23-5. 
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