More lemurs to hang out at South Carolina Aquarium

The red-ruffed lemur hails from northeastern Madagascar, a large island nation off the southeast coast of Africa.

Lemurs are taking the place of lemurs at the S.C. Aquarium.

The Madagascar Journey Exhibit’s four ring-tailed lemurs, which left Charleston this week for a stint at the Minnesota Zoo, will be replaced by a pair of red-ruffed lemurs, the peninsular tourist attraction said Wednesday.

Aquarium visitors will be able to view the exotic newcomers by the end of the month.

Like the Minnesota-bound primates, Avior and Josephine are on loan from the nonprofit Duke Lemur Center in Durham, N.C.

The quadrupedal animals “are found in the tropical forest climate on the island of Madagascar,” the aquarium said. The Duke Lemur Center said they’re from the northeastern part of the country.

A typical adult can weigh up to 8 pounds and are 21 inches long with a 2-foot tail. They have a thick coat of deep chestnut-red fur.

The lemurs are at “peak activity” at night and in the morning, according to the center. Compared to other lemurs, they’re the biggest consumers of fruit.

Avior and Josephine were selected because they are part of the Duke center’s education program and are accustomed to people, said Kate Ditloff, spokeswoman for the S.C. Aquarium.

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Also, the male and female will fit well in the 4,000-square-foot exhibit space, which also is home to snakes, fish, frogs stingrays and a crocodile.

Lemurs made their aquarium debut when Madagascar Journey opened in 2012. The exhibit has been extended by a year, and is now scheduled to close in the fall of 2016.

“It is critically important to highlight the amazing island of Madagascar, one of the most biologically diverse islands in the world, in order to highlight the need for conservation not only on the island but throughout the world,” the aquarium said.

Reach Allison Prang at 937-5705 or follow her on Twitter @AllisonPrang.