• Katherine Nava

Meet Lemurs Bentley and Beemer at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

The Smithsonian's National Zoo brought in two friendly new faces that made their first public appearances in July. In May, collared lemur brothers Bentley and Beemer were acquired from the Bronx Zoo and recently begun a new training program at the zoo.

The three-year-old brothers are very sweet-natured and have quickly warmed up to the zoo's keepers. Their diets consist of mixed nuts, acorn squash, vegetables, and dried fruits. While Bentley is keener on exploring their new habitat, Beemer seems especially fond of food and frequently stays behind to enjoy a delicious meal.

There are several lemur species, and the zoo is now home to six lemurs of three different species. Beemer and Bentley were slowly introduced to the zoo's other four lemurs as the brothers began to share the same habitat.

What Do Collared Lemurs Look Like?

As adults, collared lemurs are around the size of a large house cat. They typically weigh around 5.5 pounds once they are fully grown. Their distinguished coats are different based on their sex. Female collared lemurs typically have gray faces, reddish-brown coats, and distinctive reddish-brown beards. Like Bentley and Beemer, male lemurs are brownish-gray with a lighter underside, dark-colored tails, a dark stripe down their back, and cream-colored to reddish-brown beards.

Where do Lemurs Live?

Collared lemurs are only naturally found in southeast Madagascar. These lemurs live in montane forests and moist tropical lowlands. They are essential to the forests they live in as they are a critical seed disperser species. That means that these lemurs play a crucial role in plant fitness and survival throughout their environments.

Are Lemurs Endangered?

Collared lemurs are an endangered species. It's estimated that only between 5,000 and 9,500 of these lemurs live in their natural Madagascar habitats. Unfortunately, this endangered status is shared among most species of lemurs. There are over 100 lemur species, and most of those species are critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable. Recently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that over 98 percent of these beautiful animals will face extinction in the wild within the next 20 years.

Lemurs are primarily endangered due to habitat loss from deforestation for charcoal and agriculture production. However, collared lemurs are frequently hunted for food and captured to be used as exotic pets.

Fun Collared Lemur Facts

There are many interesting, fun lemur facts, including:

  • Most species of lemur have a female-dominant society.

  • Lemurs play a significant role in local folklore. For example, many Malagasy people believe that the spirits of their ancestors reside within lemurs.

  • Aside from humans, lemurs are the only primate species that can have blue eyes.

  • Lemurs are the oldest living primates in the world

When to See Bentley and Beemer at the Zoo

Brothers Bentley and Beemer can be visited at the Lemur Island at the Smithsonian National Zoo. The pair is most active between 8 AM and 2 PM on good weather days. However, Bentley and Beemer are still getting used to their new environment. They don't often venture too far into their new home. Bentley and Beemer are commonly spotted near the keeper's door.

End Your Trip to the Zoo with Delicious Italian Food

Be sure to stop by Lemur Island on your next trip to the Smithsonian National Zoo to see Beemer, Bentley, and their lemur friends.

After seeing these beautiful collared lemurs, stop by LiLLiES Restaurant and Bar to enjoy delicious Italian cuisine. Bring your zoo pass to get an extra ten percent off of your meal.

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