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How is a lemur like a raccoon?

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What's black and grey and white and sometimes mistaken for each other? Well, that's either the start of a bad joke, or the answer is two look-alike animals – ring-tailed lemurs and raccoons.

Ring-tailed lemurs and raccoons have a few things in common. Both species are mammals. Both are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals. And, most notably, they both have long, black and white striped tails.

Of course, ring-tailed lemurs are only one kind of lemur. The term "lemur" can refer to different kinds of related species, including dwarf lemurs, indris and aye-ayes. And while some of these other lemurs may not look similar to raccoons, they have things in common, too. Most lemurs are nocturnal and so, like raccoons, they are active at night. Raccoons and most types of lemurs live in trees in different parts of the world.

So lemurs are like raccoons in some ways, but they are also very different animals. Raccoons are quite common, especially in Toronto. Lemurs, on the other hand, are endangered – and that's no joke!

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