If you have read any of my posts before- you know that I am a huge fan of lemurs. One of the biggest reason I have an animal crush on lemurs is because I train our Ring Tailed Lemurs here at the Museum.
I’ve posted about training before, check it out here, but this time I want to talk about my progress. The most important behavior I am working on with the ring tails right now is ‘crate’. By crate I mean that they go into the crate- don’t come bouncing out and allow me to close the door- while remaining calm. The end goal will be to crate them for vet procedures, using one or two treats only, and move them- in the crate all the way to the main building, which of course requires a ride in one of our vehicles. This trained behavior will alleviate several unpleasant aspects of catching lemurs. First the stress on the lemurs themselves will be minimal. Once they are comfortable with me shutting the crate door and picking them up, the rest is quite easy. When our ring tails get stressed they poo and it’s not pleasant. Typically it involves poor Sherry getting a bit covered in yucky lemur stress poo thus having to change her clothes several times in one day. So… less stress for lemurs, less poo for Sherry, and a great sense of accomplishment for me.
We’re not quite there yet, but today all 3 ring tails went into their crates, I shut the doors without issues. They stayed in for 1 minute- no issues, I picked up their crates and moved them a bit, then they sat for an additional minute- no issues. When the 2 minutes were up, I opened the door and then lemurs walked- not ran- out to claim their big reward!!! and I had a huge smile on my face! I have been this successful before but then they had some regression on the behavior, so it’s taken some time for them to get comfortable again. I’m happy to have great progress once again.