Someone call Britney Spears, because these triplets are toxic!

Three infant gray mouse lemurs held in gloved hand

Fauna’s triplets, Belladonna, Wolfsbane, and Jimson Weed, are all named after toxic plants. Photo by Jodi S.

On August 8, 2023, gray mouse lemur mom Fauna surprised her animal caretakers by giving birth to triplets. Ultrasounds throughout Fauna’s pregnancy had indicated that she was pregnant with twins, so the third infant was delightfully unexpected! Belladonna, the only female of the three infants, might have gone undetected due to her size; while brothers Wolfsbane and Jimson Weed were born weighing 8.7 grams and 9.7 grams, respectively, Belladonna was born at just 5.6 grams.

Belladonna didn’t stay little for long! By one month old, she had actually surpassed the weights of both Wolfsbane and Jimson Weed and is now the largest of the three infants.

Two-day-old infant mouse lemur, barely bigger than a gloved finger

Two-day-old Belladonna clinging to an animal caretaker’s finger during her infant wellness exam. Photo by Jodi S.

Three infant mouse lemurs resting atop a gloved hand; the infant on the left is significantly smaller than the others

Two-day-old Belladonna (left) compared to brothers Wolfsbane and Jimson Weed. Photo by Jodi S.

Mouse lemur infants born at the DLC are named after flowering plants, herbs, spices, and hot sauces. Fauna’s triplets all get their names from toxic plants—just like half-brother Baneberry, who was born earlier in the 2023 baby season. Belladonna is an alternate alias for deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), a plant that sports purple bell-shaped flowers and toxic purple-black berries. Wolfsbane (Aconitum) is a poisonous flowering plant that often features in pop culture and mythology; it has been associated with werewolves and vampires in well-known media, such as Harry Potter and Dracula. Jimson Weed also comes from the nightshade family and is sometimes referred to as devil’s trumpet (Datura stramonium).

Introducing Tumbleweed’s trio!

Three infant mouse lemurs being held by gloved veterinarians

From left to right: Jack Frost, Seaweed, and Cattail at their first infant wellness exam. Photo by Maddie P.

Fauna wasn’t the only mouse lemur mom to welcome triplets last month! On August 14, 2023, Tumbleweed gave birth to three infants: Jack Frost (male), Seaweed (male), and Cattail (female). They weighed in at 9.6 grams, 10 grams, and 9.3 grams, respectively.

Close up of one mouse lemur infant

One of the triplets, most likely Seaweed, at a routine baby weighing. Photo by David Haring.

These triplets also get their names from plants. Jack Frost’s namesake plant is also known as the Heartleaf Brunnera and features leaves with a frosty finish and flowers that resemble those of a forget-me-not. Cattail is named after the long, reedy marsh plant, and Seaweed’s name should be familiar to beach dwellers across the globe.

Three one-month-old mouse lemurs infants in a tiny pyramid

Jack Frost, Seaweed, and Cattail at one month old. Photo by David Haring.