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Bottoms Up! February 25, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.

IMGP1216bWe ended the last post, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, with our arrival at the Ring-Tailed Lemur pavilion  housing three adults (Paul-a, Ringo, and Jude) and twin babies, about 5 weeks old.

Weighing about 3 ounces, Yoko  and Ono (our nicknames for them)  bounced around the enclosure like kangaroos on cocaine.

“Bing-Bing-Bing, ricochet rabbit!” 

These two little guys would hop on pop, hop off pop, climb the cage, descend down a tree branch, jump into the air, give themselves a mutual belly butt, then race over to mom.

Reaching mom, they would hop on her back, slide around to hang upside down – bottoms up! – from her belly,  and wrestle and tussle each other to the ground.

With seemingly inexhaustible energy, they ran circles around big brother while bouncing up and down and side to side like boxers getting warmed up for the big match.

We hummed “I like to move it, move it” as they climbed and jumped and pirouetted about their habitat.

And then the show got really interesting.

One of the babies climbed up the cage and slipped through a gap at the door, into the vestibule used by the keepers to enter the enclosure.

All three adults showed their maternal and paternal instincts by racing over to figure out how to rescue the little guy (who had quickly learned that the grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence).

He scurried up and down the side of the cage trying to figure out how he ended up on the wrong side of the mirror, much like Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Wikipedia ~ Alice Through the Looking Glass (in Public Domain)

Initial concern flowed into increasing consternation at this unexpected  separation.

Mom looked like she was going to have a stroke when she realized that she could not get through the gate to save the little tyke.

Since we had been the lemurs only visitors for 20-30 minutes, BFF headed off to find a keeper to rescue the baby lemur, while I tried to calm the parents and older brother by singing, “Hang on, help is on the way ~ they’ll be here as fast as they can . . . “

Assured by my words, Ringo put his arm around Paul-a and pulled her head to his chest, in a gesture clearly designed to say, “It’s going to be all right.”

Then, Ringo climbed up to explore the cage entrance where he discovered how Yoko (or Ono) had reached the other side.  He slipped his paw through the gap and reached for Junior.

Junior, a quick study, latched onto his father’s arm, and climbed out of the vestibule into the cage proper, as if  following a trail of bread crumbs.

Just as he reached safety, three zoo-keepers crashed through the jungle foliage and raced towards the cage to perform a (now unnecessary) rescue.

Full of admiration for the lemurs, I told the keepers how Ringo had figured out how to save his wayward son without  waiting for assistance.  The keepers  found the offending gap (almost as quickly as Ringo), and held an impromptu conference to decide how best to prevent future escapes.

At that point, a fourth docent arrived bearing brown paper bags filled with treats for the relieved lemurs.   The adult lemurs reached for their grab bags, with obvious delight, and started stuffing their mouths from the portioned  sacks like hungry movie-goers inhaling popcorn.

Reaching the bottom  of the bag, each lemur would turn it over . . . bottoms up! . . . hoping they had missed a morsel.

IMGP1221Yoko and Ono, exhausted from their recent adventures and morning’s exercise, curled up on mom’s back for a time out while she snacked.

They happily abandoned their plans for a nap  when one of the keepers reached down with a tasty treat for them to nibble on.

Before we left, we checked back on the lemurs.  The gap had been closed off with foam edging wrapped around all four sides of the cage door.

Delighted that Yoko and Ono would not end up in the Snake Pavilion, we vacated our role as  temporary guardians and left with a spring in our step . . . “I like to move it, move it . . . we like to move it! “

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?

Are you amazed by the energy exhibited by baby animals and human toddlers?  Do you think we’ll ever figure out how to bottle that energy to infuse elders with similar enthusiasm for life and zest for living?

* * * * *

Posted in response to Sidey’s Weekend Theme . . . Reaching the Bottom (or as I like to say . . . Bottoms Up!)


1. oldancestor - February 25, 2011

Well written. And thanks for looking after our cousins. Lemurs are our fifth-closest relatives.

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

I knew they were related, but didn’t realize that they are almost kissing cousins! 😀

oldancestor - February 25, 2011

Oops. They’re our 6th cousins, from a genetic-similarity standpoint. I forgot about gibbons.

Humans -> Chimps -> Gorillas -> Orangutans
-> Gibbons -> monkeys -> Lemurs

How does this make you feel: Chimps and humans are more similar than chimps and gorillas.

No wonder Roddy McDowall was so helpful to Charleton Heston in Planet of the Apes. He knew the score.

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

Close enough. I’m still giving you a *Gold Star* for your contribution today!

And I feel fine about our commonality with chimps and apes. Evolution makes far more sense to me than the bibilical story about Adam and Eve.

2. Rosa - February 25, 2011

Those striped tails are Amazing! And what a cute story! Thanks for sharing!

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

Thanks, Rosa.

All these photos are borrowed from Wikipedia because I was too busy laughing to take picures.

3. Carol Ann Hoel - February 25, 2011

It’s a good thing that we are young when we bear children. Keeping up with a toddler, human or animal, is a daunting task even for a young mother or father.

Watching animals is great entertainment. We lived in Toledo, Ohio, during my youth. Toledo has an amazing zoo of worldwide fame. I miss it still. Blessings…

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

Just watching the lemurs made us feel as if we’d had a real work out! Talk about “get up and go.”

I think Jack Hanna hales from the Toledo Zoo. He’s always been a favorite to watch on talk shows ~ with some amazing critters as his traveling companions.

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

Nope. I was wrong. He’s from the Columbus Ohio Zoo:


4. barb19 - February 25, 2011

What a great story, you related it very well. Lemurs are very entertaining, as you found out!

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

We had such a BLAST watching them frolic around and were so touched at the caring they demonstrated when Yoko (or Ono) ended up on the wrong side of the fence.

5. suzicate - February 25, 2011

Lovely story! Those lemurs are adorable!

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

I wish I had taken a few photos of Yoko and Ono ~ beyond cute!

6. jeanne - February 25, 2011

What a wonderful story of the family bond. We must be willing to allow our children to explore their boundaries. And we must know when to extend our hand to them so they know we are only an arms length away. Then we wait for them to take our hand and accept our support and encouragment. It’s a growing process for both parent and child.

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

Great analogy, Jeanne.

Ringo really impressed me ~ first by comforting Paul-a, and then by extending his hand to his wayward son.

Ringo rocks!

7. Cindy - February 25, 2011

A fantastic read, Nancy, just bloody marvelous 🙂

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

Thank you, Cindy. 😀

8. jannatwrites - February 25, 2011

They’re adorable. I’m glad you were watching over them, even though they were able to work out the rescue on their own.

Babies (humans/animals) absorb the energy from the adults around them. That has to be why a toddler can still be bouncing off the walls in a room of nearly-comatose adults.

nrhatch - February 25, 2011

Haha! You might be right ~ kids do seem to suck the energy right out of adults. 🙂

Tonight, we watched Part IV of Life ~ an excellent documentary series. It’s been ages since we watched Part III. Anyway, the segment that arrived today covered Primates ~ including Ring-Tailed Lemurs! Also included: Snow Monkeys, Gibbons, Chimps, Baboons, Gorillas, Capuchins, and a few others.

9. linda - February 25, 2011

What a wonderful story. Sounds like so much fun. So touching to think of the daddy comforting the momma and how funny a kid being a kid and getting into trouble scaring momma sensless! I would love to have half of that energy.

nrhatch - February 26, 2011

Me too! I wonder if we have so much less energy because of the thoughts we think?

Back then, we just moved from experience to experience without weighing and juggling all the options first ~ maybe it’s the weighing and juggling that wears us out?

10. viewfromtheside - February 26, 2011

oh what a lovely story, thanks for making it fun to reach the bottom.

I perfer Lemurs to the chimps and apes, even though they are more distant relations to us

nrhatch - February 26, 2011

Thanks, Sidey. Watching the primates on Life last night, the baboons scared me. They seem rather vicious.

The gorillas seemed rather docile, if formidable. The orangutans, capuchins, and lemurs seemed sweet. The chimps seemed so intelligent ~ using tools and sharing an actual “culture.”

11. kateshrewsday - February 26, 2011

Ah, King Julian…..one of my great role models….

nrhatch - February 26, 2011

Madagascar is a favorite of ours ~ I love listening to King Julian.

When I saw Sidey’s theme this week, Reaching The Bottom, I immediately thought of drinking . . . “Bottoms Up!” or “Chug! Chug! Chug!”

Then I remembered these guys and their upside down, bottoms up enthusiasm. “Move it!”

12. frizztext - February 26, 2011

oh my cat will get jealous, if she discovers those tails!

nrhatch - February 26, 2011

Aren’t they spectacular?

Tigger doesn’t watch nature shows with us anymore . . . so he’s none the wiser.

13. SAS Fiction Girl - February 26, 2011

Lemurs are the best! I used to be a keeper aide at my local zoo, and I was lucky enough to take care of our Red Ruffed Lemurs. I taught them to sit on my lap while I handfed them. That was against the rules, but I did it anyway and I’m not sorry. 🙂

nrhatch - February 26, 2011

How FUN! I don’t blame you for having no remorse ~ bonding with animals is worth the risk. 🙂

14. Amy @ Soul Dipper - February 26, 2011

Great rescue, Dad! Your article is well written, Nancy. I liked the photos that give the impression of Lemurs in the wild.

I have a tough time with any caged animals. No justifications sit well with me. Having been around animals in their natural habitats, it puts me through varying degrees of agony.

nrhatch - February 26, 2011

My favorite zoos are those without bars. The Cape May Zoo in NJ has large savannahs where animals can roam freely. Same with the Asheboro Zoo in NC.

It makes me sad to see animals stuck in close quarters ~ one of many reasons for my vegetarian diet.

15. Weekend Theme – Reaching the Bottom – roundup « Viewfromtheside's Blog - February 27, 2011

[…] Bottoms Up! « Spirit Lights The Way […]

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