Animals Up Close: Mongoose Lemur


WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Animals Up Close takes you to Madagascar this week to meet the mongoose lemurs. 

Felipe and Alana share their home at the Oglebay Good Zoo with Kenny, the ring-tailed lemur. 

“The white one was the girl and the brown one was the boy,” said Animals Up Close winner Kaylea Ingram.

She picked up knowledge of the mongoose lemur very quickly!

Their beards are how you tell them apart, but both males and females have striking orange eyes. 

“Imagine being the first people to come to that island and see those eyes looking at you in the dark and hear all the howls and the snorts and the meows and all those different noises that they make?” asked Oglebay Zoo’s Curator of Animals Mindi White while giving a tour of the exhibit. 

Also unique about the mongoose lemurs is their human-like hands. 

“They have thumbs and they have fingers,” White explained. “Their back feet are what’s tricky. They have a big toe that goes off to one side and then they have four digits or fingers that go off to the other.”

And while they’re helpful with climbing, that’s not where this species spends most of its time. 

“They’re more terrestrial, so they’re more on the ground, so they eat things that fall from the trees,” White continued.  

But they also liked the snacks from the Animals Up Close winners. 

“They like to eat three kinds of foods,” Kaylea Ingram said. “They like to eat raisins and they like to eat grapes and bananas.”

And these mongoose lemurs weren’t very patient. 

At one point Alana could be seen oh a high vine, exhibiting some distinct behavior. 

“Now do you see how she’s swinging her tail? You see that?,” White asked. “That is a warning sign from Alana. She is wondering right now why you are feeding Kenny and not her.”

But don’t worry, Alana got her fair share of snacks. 

To chew through all that fruit, mongoose lemurs have to have special teeth, which are also good for protection. 

“They have to be able to protect themselves,  they have really nice canines, but they’re kinda hidden under that top lip,” White explained. 

“Our favorite part was um feeding the animals,” Kaylea Ingram said.

“I feed the animals!” exclaimed little sister Lilly Ingram.  

The Oglebay Good Zoo is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the weekends. 

You can get up close with animals like the mongoose lemur and book an encounter of your own by calling 304-243-4100 or visit the Oglebay Good Zoo’s website by clicking here. 


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