Birmingham Nature Centre
Black & White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia Variegata Variegata)
The Black & White Ruffed Lemur is one of the largest lemurs alive today. They can grow up to four feet long, but they only weigh eight or ten pounds. Black and white ruffed lemurs have black and white markings and a ruff or fringe of long white fur around their ears and neck. These exciting animals live in groups of two to five and they all share a common home territory that they defend from neighbouring groups and predators. If a lemur spots a predator, it makes a loud alarm call to alert the other members of its group. Lemurs also groom each other with their teeth to keep clean and to maintain strong friendships in the group. Black and white ruffed lemurs live in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar and they eat fruit and other plants. A lemur mother will have two or three babies at once and the mother usually hides the babies in a safe place instead of keeping them with her all the time. Black and white ruffed lemurs are endangered species due to habitat loss. The Nature Centre has two female lemurs.
Red Panda (Ailurus Fulgens)
They have a bear-like body with thick russet fur and are little bigger than domesticated cats. They are secretive and gentle creatures, spending most of the day sleeping curled up with their tail wrapped around their head. They lead solitary lives, except for mothers with cubs. The Red Panda originates from the Himalayas in India, Nepal and southern China and they inhabit forested mountain slopes. Red Pandas have characteristics of bears and raccoons and unlike other bears, their claws are partly retractable and they are remarkably agile in the trees. Red Pandas eat mainly bamboo, but also acorn, roots, berries and occasionally eggs and young birds. They can live up to 12-14 years. The Red Panda is classified as an endangered species, there are an estimated 2,500 of adult red pandas in the wild and this number continues to decline.
Meerkats (Suricata suricata)
These small mammals belong to the mongoose family. They are approximately 30 cm tall and they weigh just under one kilo. Their tail is approximately 20 cm long and they use it to balance themselves to upright position. Meerkats originate from Southern Africa and can live up to 12 -14 years. They are very social animals and live in groups of 5 to 30 meerkats that are called mobs or gangs. These charismatic animals are very active during the day. Meerkats have many predators because of their size and therefore one member of the gang always stands on watch while the rest eat or rest. Meerkats' diet consists of scorpions, worms, spiders, crickets, small mammals and reptiles, birds, eggs and roots. The Nature Centre is home to a lively gang of meerkats.
White-Naped Cranes (Grus vipio)
These birds have pinkish legs and a dark grey and white striped neck. They originate from Northern Asia and breed in broad river valleys, along wetland edges, grasslands or farmlands. White-naped Cranes are omnivorous and their diet includes insects, small vertebrates, seeds roots and tubes, wetland plants, and waste grains. The White-Naped Crane is an endangered species due to the destruction of wetlands because of agricultural expansion. The Nature Centre has a pair of White-Naped Cranes.