The mothers of six baby ring-tailed lemurs have been spotted taking turns babysitting one another’s youngsters at Whipsnade Zoo.
Over the past six weeks, half-a-dozen wide-eyed lemurs, including two sets of twins , have been born on the zoo’s Lemur Island, which has become something of a primate crèche.
Ring-tailed lemur babies are usually carried around by their mothers for the first ten or 11 weeks, but lemur mums Daphne, Hannelies, Pien and Naomi have been sharing childcare responsibilities and allowing their babies to be carried on each another’s backs.
Zookeeper Graeme Williamson said: “We’ve recently noticed a lot of baby-swapping going on and the exhibit has basically turned into a giant playroom.
“The four mums have certainly got their hands full with these energetic youngsters and by taking on the role of auntie or babysitter they’ve been sharing out the workload.
“They’re excellent with the babies, doing a lot of cleaning and licking. The male lemur Quaker, who fathered all six, is also doing an exceptional job and looking like a very proud father.”
The young lemurs are a welcome addition to the European Studbook breeding programme for the species.
Visitors can have their own encounter with ring-tailed lemurs at the zoo’s special walk-through exhibit In With The Lemurs.