These lemurs live in social groups that are usually between 2 and 9 individuals strong (average 3 to 5) (2) (3). Group territories are defended by vocalisations, displays and scent-markings. Bonds between group members are maintained by social grooming; individuals sit facing each other and use their teeth and hands to groom (3). Females give birth to a single offspring, which is initially carried on its mother’s back (3).
Alaotran gentle lemurs are active during the day and night with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk. Unlike other lemurs, members of this species walk on all fours along the reed stalks of their habitat, bending one stalk until it allows them to reach the next. However, they can also use the clinging-and-leaping locomotion more typical of this group of primates (3). These lemurs specialise on eating papyrus leaves (Cyperus madagascariensis) (3) and those of reeds such as Phragmites spp. (1); individuals will also spend some time on the ground foraging for food (3).