Maki Macaco

portrait of a female maki

Maki Macaco

Posted on 09/12/2021

"Many lemurs macaco are living in Nosy Komba. There are several mixed groups led by females."


Lemurs are endemic primates of Madagascar; there are several species, including the eulemur macaco or more commonly known as maki macaco, which is found here in Nosy Komba. They can be observed during the day, and at night you can hear their cries echoing against the mountainous wall of the island. It is very easy to distinguish the females macaco from the males. Indeed, “these ladies” have a hair between brown and red, while their companions have a black fur. These cuddly toys are fascinating because of their majestic agility and their resemblance to us.


They live in the forest, in the trees. Their incredible agility allows them to jump very far from branch to branch, and to climb very high.


Makis live in communities. There are several mixed groups. A group is generally composed of seven to fifteen lemurs. Although males are more numerous, the social mode of the macaco is matriarchal. A dominant female leads a group, accompanied by other females.

They do not hold back when they want to relieve themselves. In their droppings, seeds from fruits they have eaten are scattered on the ground. Like birds, they are natural planters.


They are mainly vegetarian and feed mainly on seeds, leaves and sweety fruits, but they can also feast on liquids secreted by trees or plants.
Their developed sense of smell allows them to sniff out and locate fruits very easily. They are very fond of bananas, and when the mango season arrives from November to the end of February, they feast on them. Sometimes they eat very small insects and millipedes.


The means of communication of the macaco eulemurs are very special. Their language has many sounds. Some sounds resemble grunts, others are similar to monkey calls. During the mating season, the cries become more strident and there are many arguments between them.


Females give birth only once a year and usually have only one cub. They can also have two. The gestation period lasts about four months; it is between September and December that these adorable balls of hair are born. During the first three months, the new-borns cling to their mother’s belly for protection.

The baby lemur’s hands firmly grasp the mother’s fur and the tail surrounds her lower abdomen. Later on, they stand on their backs, and then gradually start to become independent. At six months of age, they are weaned, and move around on their own, although their mothers are always by their side to teach them.
They reach sexual maturity at the age of two and do not mate until one year later.

The life expectancy of this species is estimated to be about 20 years, but some may live longer.

Human influence

During the tourist season, many people come to the island to discover these primates; in order to attract them, the locals feed them with bananas, and thus familiarize them with humans. In Nosy Komba, harming a maki is absolutely forbidden.

These animals are sacred.

But man is making their natural habitat more fragile every day, through deforestation, and the expansion of crops and villages. The less humans touch nature and its biodiversity, by respecting the natural way of life of the Macaco, the more these magnificent animals will be protected.

On the same subject…

The birds

The birds

There are more than twenty species of birds on the island of Nosy Komba.