A pair of red ruffed lemurs from Dudley Zoo have celebrated their tenth birthday.
Nelson and Hardy celebrated with a hug from their adopted parents, Pat Stevens, the Upper Primates section leader and her husband, Carl who is the head gardener for Dudley Zoo. These two played a special role in their lives as they hand reared them.
Stevens said, “Their mum abandoned them both within a few hours, so we made the decision to take them ourselves and hand rear them.”
Having a pet lemur isn’t all it’s cracked up to be though, “We ended up having them living at home with us for seven months, where they ran riot!” Added Stevens.
The Stevens live on site and originally had the pair living in a plastic ice cream tub. Having feeds every two hours though, day and night, they soon outgrew this and moved into a large dog crate. Their days were spent in a spare enclosure they could play in.
You can see a video of the boys below:
Carl said, “There was one incident that I’ll always remember at home when Hardy managed to climb up the door frame and onto the sideboard and planted his teeth into a pear.”
“I picked up the pear, which was still attached to the lemur, shook it and it took some separating, so then we had to find a new home for the fruit bowl,” he added.
The twins even wet on holidays at one point to South Devon on the pairs annual holiday. They were inundated with babysitting offers from the other holidaymakers.
Once they moved back to the zoo the pair were used for educational workshops and outreach visits they became too boisterous for this zoo and moved to the Small Primate House where they live full time.
The Stevens still come down for a daily visit and the boys are always excited to see them.
“It makes us feel very old to think this all happened a decade ago, as it certainly doesn’t feel that long, but they wouldn’t have survived if we hadn’t have stepped in and they’ve grown up to become two lovely, but very lively, lemurs,” said Pat.
They have a long life ahead of them yet with red ruffed lemurs living up to 30 years in captivity. In the wilds of Madagascar they normally only live for 15-20 years.
Photo Credits: Dudley Zoo