Can You Own a Pet Lemur?

Can You Own a Pet Lemur? Is It Legal?

Have Lemur on your most desirable pet list? Upon seeing a cute and uncommon animal anywhere, individuals often say loudly, ‘Oh, it is so cute, I want it. Though the easiest it is said, the trickiest it is to bring that thought into real life. Especially if that animal is a Lemur.

Lemurs are undoubtedly one of the cutest animals, but they are wild and not domestic. The urge to get hold of them isn’t just dangerous for humans but for lemurs as well.

It takes a high level of knowledge, understanding, and patience to keep animals like Lemurs in captivity. Having them as a pet is not as easy and sorted as keeping a dog or cat. Come, let’s learn more about it.

Getting a Lemur As Pet: What You Need to Know

So, What is a Lemur? A Lemur is a wild animal that shares a resemblance with apes and monkeys. And to no surprise, Lemur has evolved independently from these two species.

Lemurs are wet-nosed mammals, native and endemic to the island of Madagascar. They are friendly and docile and spend most of their time in trees with others from their tribe. Lemurs are often found in groups of 10 or more, whether resting or migrating. They are mainly insectivorous, but some even feed exclusively on foliage.

Even though Lemurs are associated with apes and monkeys, they belong to the superfamily Lemuroidea. It is further divided into 8 families, 15 genera, and nearly 100 existing species. Since they are found on only one part of the earth, Lemurs are considered the world’s most endangered group of mammals. 

Can You Own a Pet Lemur?

Lemur History: What Did Lemurs Evolve from?

Lemurs were thought to have evolved at the same time as or earlier than the Eocene epoch, and share a closest common ancestor with lorises, pottos, and galagos (lorisoids).

According to the Nuclear DNA, Lemurs came to Madagascar between 40 and 52 mya. They are estimated to evolve either during the Eocene period or even before.

Some other Nuclear and Mitochondrial DNA comparisons also suggest Lemurs beginning between 62 to 65 mya.

Fossils of lemurs have also been found in parts of Europe, America, and Asia. The primitive primate has changed slightly in 50 million years but is believed to be the same as the early ancestors of humans.

Lemur Species Taxonomy Chart

Other NameMaky in Malagasy
Scientific NameLemuroidea
Order and SuborderPrimates and Strepsirrhini
SizeLength: 39 – 46 cm (Adult, Head, and body)
Mass: 2.2 kg (Adult)
Lifespan16 to 19 years

Do Lemurs makes good pets?

Lemurs are wild animals, and therefore they do not make good pets. These creatures will always want to be in the wild, and keeping them in captivity can prove destructive.

Anyone who is willing to keep Lemurs as pets must understand the difference between domestication and habituation. Wild animals like dolphins, bears, and coyotes behave nicely towards humans because of habituation.

Since they have grown accustomed to the presence of people or may be trained and thus are being friendly. However, despite that, their inborn wild instincts will still remain alive, making them unpredictable and dangerous. That is why Lemurs or other similar animals never make good pets.

Is It Legal to Keep Lemurs as A Pet?

Lemurs aren’t domestic animals, but several countries/ states in the world make it legal to keep them as pets. Although, in the region, they are native to, ‘Madagascar’, it is illegal to keep Lemurs as pets.

Still, over 28,000 of these fascinating animals are kept illegally as domestic in several parts of Madagascar. Individuals have removed these poor animals from their wild habitat and kept them at home either for personal purposes or tourism.

Are Lemurs legal in the US?

Though Lemurs are illegal as pets in their native land, they are surprisingly legal in several U.S. States.

For example, the U.S. States, including Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, allow keeping Lemurs under law. However, the rules for counties and cities under these states might differ.

Whereas some other U.S. States allow keeping Lemur only under commercial permit. For example, individuals who have a zoo, rescue center, or other points of tourist interest can apply a license to keep Lemur.

However, no matter which state you are in, one has to be 18 or above in order to gain a permit to keep Lemur as a pet.

Can you have Lemurs as pets?

Legally, yes, there are high chances that you can have Lemur as a pet. However, Lemurs are the wrong type of animals to have in the house as pets. These wild animals are extremely difficult and expensive to care for.

Besides that, they can carry some diseases and parasites, which could prove dangerous for families who are keeping them. Also, since Lemurs are threatened with extinction, it is better to let them survive in the wild.

Instead of bringing them home, contribute to any wildlife welfare organization for the betterment of these animals.

Lemurs- You have to meet their needs

If you are willing to bring home a pet, Lemur here is an idea of what’s life going to be about.

Lemur Housing Needs

Before bringing home a Lemur, think about what their real habitat in the wild looks like. ‘A forested jungle with trees all around. And this is something you need to replicate for keeping Lemurs are captivity as well.

For housing Lemurs (yes, at least two since you cannot pet one Lemur), at least a half-acre space is necessary. Now firstly, so that the pet does not escape, it is important to line the entire area with a grill from all sides and above.

Further, fill the enclosure with some trees and more branches so that the animals can play and run like the wild inside.

Adding a few ropes, a wooden ladder, etc. too will prove helpful. Also, add places to hide and rest and a small pool for the animals to cool down during a hot summer day.

Lemur Temperature and Humidity Needs

Lemurs are tropical animals, and therefore they must be kept in temperatures between 18 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius.

When the weather is too hot or cold, these animals need a climatically controlled environment to prevent any illness. they tend to be less active when the temperature drops.

Lemurs Dietary Needs

Lemurs in the wild primarily feed on fruit, leaves, and flowers. They may also occasionally eat tree bark and sap. However, in captivity, managing their dietary requirements is quite different.

Pet lemurs should be fed commercial primate kibble or pellet with appropriate fiber content. Along with that, providing them with a variety of fresh vegetables, browse, and restricted quantities of fruits are necessary.

Lemurs Cleaning Needs

Like any other wild animals, Lemurs, too, will keep themselves clean all the while. Especially when you have multiple Lemurs in captivity, each of them will lick the other in order to maintain hygiene.

However, a small pond or pool inside their enclosure will provide them with some extra cleaning help.

Common Health Problems with Lemurs

Lemurs in captivity may suffer from the following health issues,

age-related renal disease, diabetes, neoplasia, bacterial pneumonia, fungal skin infections, hydatid disease, and bacterial pneumonia.

How Much Does a Lemur Cost?

If you are looking forward to buying a Lemur, be ready to spend a huge amount on the purchase itself. You can expect to pay anywhere between $2,500 and $10,000. The amount may seem surprisingly high, but that’s not all that goes behind keeping a Lemur.

Lemurs live at least 12 to 14 years of age, and it is a long commitment. Most individuals, while buying Lemurs, aren’t aware of the unimaginable amount that goes into caring for these animals. As per an estimate, the total care, health, and welfare for a lemur can cost anywhere near $20,000.

Where to buy a Lemur?

Several pet stores, animal ranches, and certified USDA-licensed breeders sell Lemur. If these animals are legal in your State/ City, you can find them easily anywhere around. However, if you face difficulties, you can contact any of these websites,

Where To Find a Lemur Breeder?

Lemur Breeder is easy to be found around. There are a lot of individuals who deal in buying and selling baby Lemurs, especially in pairs.

However, instead of going for any random breeder, find a USDA-licensed breeder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can lemurs hurt you?

Lemurs, although looks cute and cuddly, but they can attack and injure their human caretakers. That is why it is always ideal to keep them inside an enclosure and treat them from a fine distance.

Are lemurs stinky?

Yes, Lemurs are extremely stinky, and their enclosure will always have some kind of weird smell. Both males and females from the species have potent scent glands on their genitals which release a foul-smelling substance. Even their cologne has a fruity smell; however, when mixed with other body odors, it transfers as stinky and not appealing.

Are Lemurs noisy?

Lemurs are extremely vocal and very high-pitched. They use their voice in order to alert others from their group or simply howl. That is why Lemurs are often taken as noisy and screaming animals.

Are Lemurs social animals?

Lemurs are highly social and live in family groups known as troops. However, amongst humans, they may appear aggressive and may even attack them. They pose a considerable threat to their caregivers.

Wrapping up…

Lemurs are no doubt adorable creatures, but it is always better for them to let live in the wild. In captivity, Lemurs can spread bad diseases to humans and even lead to issues like death.

Typical home environments can be deadly to these wild creatures as well. Most Lemurs who are kept in captivity die early due to loneliness. Thus, it is better to let them make it in the wild without zero human interference around.