Durham County

Duke Lemur Center wants to put tiny mouse lemurs in your (donated) pockets

It’s baby season at the Duke Lemur Center

‘Furia,’ a baby Coquerel’s sifaka, clings to her mother Gisela’s back as the two lemurs await peanut treats from primate technician Melanie Currie at the Duke Lemur Center on Wednesday. Furia was born on Jan. 10.
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‘Furia,’ a baby Coquerel’s sifaka, clings to her mother Gisela’s back as the two lemurs await peanut treats from primate technician Melanie Currie at the Duke Lemur Center on Wednesday. Furia was born on Jan. 10.

If you have old jeans with deep pockets, the Duke Lemur Center could use them as nests for tiny mouse lemurs.

“If you’re in the area and would be willing to donate your denim pockets, please cut them out and drop them off at our Lemur Landing visitor center – we would love to have them,” the Lemur Center wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday, adding that khaki pockets are OK, too.

The center is asking for men’s jeans in particular, since they’re bigger and deeper and make for better nests.

“Because let’s face it, girls – we know that most ‘pockets’ in women’s jeans are pretty much useless,” the center wrote.

The donated pockets will be removed from pants and hung for the lemurs to make nests in.

Lemur Center volunteer Christa Evans said denim is ideal for the tiny gray mouse lemurs.

“The hands-down cutest nests are made from an everyday item most of us wear: blue jeans,” Evans said. “Pockets are cut out of old blue jeans and hung on a curtain of mesh for mouse lemurs to explore and climb into. The lemurs can be seen prairie dogging out of the pockets, poking their heads out to check out what’s going on when someone enters their enclosure, then dropping back down into the pockets. There’s no better use for old blue jeans than that!”

Jeans can be taken to the Lemur Center at 3705 Erwin Road in Durham or they can also be mailed to the center at: Duke Lemur Center, Attention: Meg Dye, 3705 Erwin Road, Durham, N.C., 27705.

Gray mouse lemurs grow to be about 1.5-3 ounces. They’re nocturnal foragers that eat mostly insects, fruit, flowers and leaves. Some are gray while others have a reddish color. In Madagascar, gray mouse lemurs are sometimes sighted in gardens and roadside brush. Until recently, gray mouse lemurs were thought to be the smallest living primate. This was disproved when the pygmy mouse lemur, thought to be extinct, was re-discovered. The gray mouse lemur is one of the most widespread, abundant and adaptable lemur species.

The Duke Lemur Center has North America’s only breeding colony of gray mouse lemurs, with 24 males and 24 females, according to the center’s website.

For more information on mouse lemurs, go to lemur.duke.edu/discover/meet-the-lemurs/grey-mouse-lemur.

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