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Zoo officials explain reason for lemurs loud 'alarm call'

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Zoo officials explain reason for lemurs loud 'alarm call.' (Smithsonian's National Zoo)

WASHINGTON (SBG) - Smithsonian's National Zoo officials posted an intriguing video of two of their black-and-white-ruffed lemurs making loud noises they refer to as an "alarm call."

"Wake up call! Our black-and-white-ruffed lemurs Aloke and Wiley are sounding off with an alarm call," zoo officials wrote on Facebook.

According to zoo officials, lemurs make the loud noise for several different reasons, but the most common reason is when there is some kind of "visual or auditory" disturbance to their habitat.

"Aloke and Wiley will sometimes alarm call when loud noises—such as keeper radio calls—spook them," zoo officials added. "Even the ducks and turtles that cohabitate with them on Lemur Island can cause these reactions. Mostly, though, they seem to alarm call when there is a favorite food in the habitat and they want the ring-tailed lemurs to know they have first dibs!"

Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are critically endangered and native only in Madagascar.