Elementary, my dear Watson!

Ring-tailed lemur infant perched atop mom, who is eating a primate biscuit

Even though Sherlock is large for an infant, he’s still small enough to ride on mom Sierra Mist’s back! Photo by Sara Nicholson.

On the morning of April 7, 2023, the Duke Lemur Center’s animal technicians found that pregnant ring-tailed lemur Sierra Mist had given birth to a HUGE male infant, weighing in at a whopping 90 grams! (For comparison, ring-tailed lemur infant Jasper, born only two weeks prior to a different set of parents, was born at a healthy 69 grams.) The strong, vocal infant is the third offspring in as many years born to parents Sierra Mist and Licinius.

Our animal technicians weigh 2.5-week-old Sherlock by placing him on a stuffed animal in a weighing container. Photo by Abby Flyer.

Sherlock is, of course, named for the titular character in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s series of detective novels, following the DLC’s recent trend of naming ring-tailed lemur infants after famous literary characters. He shares his main character energy with older siblings Scout and Gatsby.

Scout, in particular, has taken a keen interest in her youngest brother. Our animal technicians have frequently observed Scout grooming Sherlock and spending time in close proximity to mom and baby. Her maternal instincts and fascination with Sherlock are signs that Scout has learned a lot from Sierra Mist and will make a great mother in the future.

Infant ring-tailed lemur riding on mom's back on forest floor

Sherlock hitches a ride on mom’s back. Nothing cuter than an infant blep! Photo by Sara Nicholson.

Sherlock and family have already transitioned back into the free-ranging lifestyle. They reside in one of our larger natural habitat enclosures, where older siblings Scout and Gatsby can often be found leaping energetically from tree to tree. Dad Licinius isn’t very involved in the care of the infant, but he can always be found in close proximity to his partner and offspring.

Sherlock has already begun to take on Scout and Gatsby’s infectious energy; researchers and tour guides alike have seen Sherlock leaping from back to back between his family members. He fits right in with his rambunctious family!

Infant ring-tailed lemur clinging to mom's back while she sits on log

Sierra Mist and her family are experienced free-rangers who will be able to teach Sherlock everything he needs to know about forest life. Photo by Sara Nicholson.