Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur

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The Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur or Lesser Dwarf Lemur is endemic to Madagascar. The Western Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur (Cheirogaleus medius) is home to the dry forest in the west of the island. The Southern Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur (Cheirogaleus adipicaudatus) can be found in the moist evergreen forest of southeastern Madagascar.

Photo of a Western Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur in the Kirindy Forest by Miyabi Nakabayashi, 2010

With the size of a small rat, the Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur is one of the smallest primates. The body length is about 20-23cm and the tail meassures 20-27cm. Depending on the season, the body weight varies between 120 and 270 gram. The nocturnal lemur has large eyes with dark, black rings around. The fur is brownish-red or grey, with a complete white undersite and white feet. The Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur spends almost all the time in trees and moves by jumping with all four short legs.

The nocturnal lemur eats mainly fruits, but also flowers, seeds, insects and nectar. From time to time small vertebrates are on the menu.

Throughout the tropical, but dry and hot Malagasy winter, the Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur hibernates in tree holes for six months. During this time the lemur lives from fat stored in its tail until the next wet season. Unlike other hibernating animals the Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur is not able to control its body temperature, which will vary according to the outside temperature.

The Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur lives in small groups. Mating period is end of November, just after the winter sleep. After about 61 days the female gives birth to an offspring of 1 - 4.

The fossa, Madagascar harrier-hawk, Madagascar buzzard as well as the Madagascar ground boa and Madagascar tree boa are predators of the Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur.

Local name for the Southern Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur

Local names for the Western Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur
Matavirambo, Kely Be-ohy, Tsidy and Tsidihy

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Cheirogaleidae
Genus: Cheirogaleus
Species: C. medius