So you can imagine my excitement when I arrived in Durham, North Carolina this week and found out it happens to be home to the Duke Lemur Center. With over 230 lemurs, the Duke Lemur Center is the world’s largest lemur sanctuary.
And, as luck may have it, we were able to snag ourselves a tour of the Center on Monday.
After being greeted by our lovely tour guide, we started things off with an educational lemur video, and then we toured the facilities.
As to be expected, the place was jam-packed full of all kinds of lemur adorableness.
Like this guy:
And these two right here:
You see, usually when I go to these kinds of places – you know, the kind of places that have lots of cute, fluffy animals to look at — I hardly ever learn anything as I’m too busy jumping up and down, squealing.
That’s what happened when I went to the Panda Sanctuary in Chengdu this past summer. Not that the Panda Sanctuary didn’t have plenty of educational signs detailing the intriguing daily lives and dietary habits of pandas.
But, seriously, guys, how can I be expected to read stuff when there’s this going on?
I AM NOT MADE OF STONE, PEOPLE.
But, at the Lemur Center, I was able to learn all kinds of fascinating lemur facts because I didn’t have to read anything. Instead, I got to watch the adorable lemurs doing adorable lemurey things while listening to our awesome tour guide fill us in on all kinds of fascinating lemur facts.
Like, the fact that lemurs are prosimians – which means they’re a more primitive form of primate than monkeys. But they’ve also been around a lot longer than monkeys, and they haven’t let a little thing like the lack of an opposable thumb hold them back.
In fact, it’s believed that lemurs first arrived in Madagascar some sixty million years ago from Africa by floating on rafts made out of clumps of vegetation and trees.
Think about that for a second.
Lemurs were navigating the high seas before humans even existed.
So by the time humans actually evolved enough to hop on boats and take off to worlds unknown, lemurs were all like, “Yep. Been there. Done that.”
I think this all goes to show that lemurs are probably going to take over the world some day.
Kind of like Planet of the Apes.
But way cuter.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.Our last stop on the lemur tour was the nocturnal house.
That’s where we got to see the aye-aye, which I decided is my favoritest type of lemur ever. Which, trust me, was a difficult decision to make. Because there were all kinds of different lemurs of all shapes, colors and sizes. And they were all equally adorable.
There was even one with piercing blue eyes — the kind of eyes that look deep in your soul and say, “How you doing?”
But what I loved about the aye-aye was that it wasn’t just another adorable lemur.
In fact, this thing was not cute at all.
It looked like a cross between a bat and the monster that lives underneath your bed.
In addition to being totally creepy looking, it had this crazy, long, skinny, middle finger that it uses to forage for food.
Or, you know, to stick into your ear in the middle of the night and pull out your soul. (Okay, so that last part is totally not true. But some tribes in Madagascar do believe that if the aye-aye points its skinny finger at you, you are a goner.)When we finished our tour, we were deposited in the gift shop where you can buy all manner of cute, adorable lemur-themed souvenirs.
Like lemur mugs.
And lemur ears.
And, not surprisingly, lemur-made art.
Because, of course, not only are lemurs cute and fluffy and capable of floating on rafts before rafts were even invented, they’re also super artsy.
I told you they’re totally going to take over the world.
It’s a good thing I’m prepared.What animal sanctuary have you enjoyed visiting or want to visit?