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Do Lemurs Make Good Pets? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

The lemur is a small primate native to Madagascar and has been a popular pet for decades since they are adorable creatures. Yet, despite their popularity as pets, it turns out that lemurs do not make good pets at all.

In fact, they are the wrong type of animal to have in your house as a pet because they can carry some diseases and parasites, which could be dangerous for humans. They also have specific dietary requirements and need plenty of space to live in captivity.

Here are some of the reasons why lemurs do not make good pets.

Disclaimer: Petkeen does not endorse the practice of keeping wild, exotic, and/or threatened species as pets. This article is for informative purposes only.

divider-multiprintWhy Lemurs Are Not Good Pets

1. They Are Expensive

The cost of buying a lemur from reputable breeders is very high. Furthermore, the cost of taking care of these animals is also high. For instance, a lemur’s food and vet care can add up to around $3,000 a year.

Lemurs are popular exotic animals, yet they require extensive care and can be expensive in the long run. If you’re looking for a pet that will thrive with minimal work and cost to maintain, this may not be the best choice.

Even if all exotic animals are expensive, lemurs may be one of the most expensive because they need a wide variety of fresh fruits, which you have to buy or harvest yourself.

Lemurs close up_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

2. They Can Be Aggressive

The second reason why lemurs do not make good pets is that they can be aggressive. Lemurs have a very high level of intelligence and are territorial animals, so they require their own space to avoid being too aggressive with humans.

Also, they are aggressive when they enter sexual maturity, and they can harm themselves or bite humans.


3. They Spread Diseases

Transmitting diseases between lemurs and human beings is very easy. Lemurs may carry some diseases that could cause health problems to humans because these animals are not separate from people.

Lemur experts warn that these animals are vulnerable to various illnesses and parasites because their genetic makeup is similar to the primates in Africa. For example, you can transmit a virus or disease to your lemur since you are close to each other, especially when feeding them.


4. They Are Noisy

Lemurs, more so the ring-tails, are very noisy and screechy. They have strong vocals and make various calls for every situation.

Lemur chatter can be heard up to 15 feet away. Furthermore, these animals like to play on trees, making it difficult for people with small space to keep them.

This noise can cause disturbance for people who want to spend time outside their home or watch television.


5. Lemurs Make Smelly Pets

Another reason why lemurs do not make good pets is that they can emit a very strong and unpleasant smell.

Lemur scent glands produce an odor that has been described as smelling like urine or vinegar, depending on animal species.

These creatures love to “stink” to mark their territories or attract mates. Also, they have loose poop, and it’s hard to train them, hence messing up very quickly.

Many people find it hard to tolerate this smell, while others tolerate it.

Two Lemurs on the branch of the tree_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

6. Keeping Lemurs Is Illegal In Most Countries

In most countries, Madagascar included, it’s against the law to keep a lemur as a pet unless you have an exotic animal permit which can be expensive and difficult to get.

Exporting these creatures for global world trade is also illegal. In many American states, owning lemurs is illegal. However, some states such as Florida, Texas, Alabama, Nevada, and Nebraska don’t have any restrictions on pet lemurs.

Therefore, you cannot risk breaking the law by keeping lemurs illegally. The purchase of lemurs can also promote the illegal trafficking of wild animals.


7. Lemurs Are Wild Animals, and They Are Hard to Tame

Lemurs are wild animals who want to live free and don’t do well in captivity since they still possess wild instincts. Unlike dogs or cats, lemurs find it hard to adapt to home life because they are not domestic animals. Even if they make great zoo attractions, they’re not suited for people looking to keep pets at home or “have one of their own.”

Lemur experts say that many people mistakenly think of lemur pets as domesticated animals. But the truth is, they are exotic creatures who don’t have any interest in being around humans and will never know what life would be if you keep them as pets.

This is why, even if you had the money and time to invest in caring for one of these animals, it would not be worth doing so because they will never get used to living with humans or being handled by them.

Lemurs front view_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

8. Pet Lemurs Are a Real Conservation Risk

Pet Lemurs are a real conservation risk. There’s an ongoing debate among experts about the ethics of breeding and selling lemurs as pets. However, one certain thing is that importing them for this purpose can have devastating consequences on wild populations.

It’s estimated there are only about 5,000 ring-tail or true lemurs left in the wild, but the number of lemurs being kept as pets is higher with the U.S having about 15,000 of them.

This is a problem because it means that every time someone buys one of these animals at an exotic pet store or breeder, they’re taking away from the little number left in their natural habitat and putting them on display like some strange animals. This means that lemurs are on the verge of extinction.


9.   They Need Other Lemurs to be Happy

Lemurs are social creatures and love to live in social groups. Pet lemurs are snatched from their mothers when still very young, leading to improper development, which can cause behavioral and life-long psychological problems.

Lemurs need other lemurs to be happy. If you keep one pet lemur in your home, it means that he will get stressed or cranky due to boredom and turn out to be aggressive.

Besides, you will have trouble finding a mate for your new pet since there are not others around who are of their species. Also, pet lemurs make bad parents because they were taken away from their mothers at a very tender age; hence they don’t have the essential skills of bringing up their young ones.

divider-multiprintConclusion

No doubt that lemurs are adorable creatures, but they do not make good pets. They are expensive to buy and take care of. Besides, they are hard to train and tame since they become more aggressive and dangerous.

Keeping pet lemurs is illegal in many countries, and, therefore, owning a pet lemur is breaking the law. The lemurs can spread bad diseases to humans, which might even lead to death or serious health problems.

If you are looking for an animal that can be easily trained to do tricks or obey commands, then a lemur may not be your best option because they don’t respond well to training methods like dogs and cats.

Looking for other unusual animals to consider as pets? Try our articles on:


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.