Lemur Use of Tools
Lemurs are very intelligent animals. They really on a variety of tools to help them get things done. They use their mouth more than any other part of their body to manipulate objects. They don’t use their feet to help them. There are beliefs that the Lemur created rafts to get them from Africa to Madagascar long ago.
They may use various tools in captivity to help them thrive. Most of the time though Lemurs aren’t’ observed using such items. In fact, there are some researchers that will tell you that the use of them just doesn’t happen. It is just one more of the controversial areas though about the overall behaviors of the Lemur.
One would assume though that if they can adequately problem solve and use tools in captivity that they would be able to do so in the wild. Yet they really don’t need to most of the time which is why it usually isn’t a typical behavior that will be readily observed. Yet let there be a danger to them or a problem getting food and the Lemur will be come very resourceful.
In captivity they have been able to use tools as well. Some of the experiments have placed canes or sticks where Lemurs can use them. Then they place food where they can’t reach it. Most of the time these Lemurs could very quickly figure out a way to use the tool to get the food rewards.
They really don’t need tools though for gathering food. They are excellent climbers and leapers. If they spot food they can get to it without anything standing in their way. Most of them spend their lives in the trees too so that makes the foods sources very close to their living habitat.
They have sharp teeth and nails that allow them to easily consume fruits and nuts. They don’t need tools in the wild to be able to open nuts or other types of foods that they eat. The evolution process has make their bodies highly efficient for their overall survival needs.
Studies show that Lemurs can become very bored in captivity. They need to have constant forms of stimulation. This is why so many tools may be offered to them in such a setting. It prevents them from getting tense and aggressive.
At the same time the availability of such tools allows researchers to be able to see what they will do with them. This has to be balanced though because any Lemur that may be one day related into the wild can’t have such expose. There is a fear they would become too dependent on those tools and that could hinder a successful integration back into the wild for them.
It is no secret that primates are very intelligent animals. The fact that Lemurs are able to use a variety of tools shows us that they have been able to adapt to a variety of environments. This could account for their ability to evolve and to continue thriving in spite of problems that their natural environment presented to them.
There isn’t nearly as much information about Lemur use of tools and intelligence as there is with other types of primates though. Unfortunately funding for such programs is very limited. There are also too many variables that make presenting results as fact instead of isolated incidents. Such problems can be very frustrating and so far a good solution to resolve them simply hasn’t been identified.