As some of the world’s least active primates, the common name of the sportive lemurs is something of a misnomer. The justification for their apparent laziness is that these small mammals obtain almost all their nutritional needs from leaves. In order to compensate for such a low-energy diet, sportive lemurs have developed extremely slow metabolic rates, requiring long periods of inactivity (6). However, many sportive lemur species do actually augment their leafy diets with occasional fruits, seeds and flowers (4).
Like all species in the genus, Milne Edwards’s sportive lemur is arboreal and strictly nocturnal (4) (7). At night, individuals travel relatively short distances from daytime resting holes to forage sedately in the forest canopy. Long periods spent clinging vertically to a tree trunk are punctuated with short periods of active foraging, when the powerful hind limbs are used to leap considerable distances from one perch to another (4). Home ranges are small, but there is often considerable overlap between adjacent ranges, with night time encounters between neighbouring individuals sometimes leading to defensive vocalisations and aggressive branch-shaking (4) (5) (6). Although almost always solitary when foraging, adult male and female pairs exhibit a strong fidelity for a small number of regular sleeping sites (2). These are usually tree holes or liana tangles around four to five metres off the ground (4) (5). The male and female do not always sleep together at the same site, but tend to remain in close vicinity when sleeping at separate sites. This unusual pattern of social organisation is referred to as dispersed monogamy (2).