Lemurs self-medicate by rubbing toxic millipedes over their bottoms

A red-fronted lemur chews on a millipede to make it secrete toxins

A red-fronted lemur chews on a millipede to make it secrete toxins

Louise Peckre

Lemurs have been noticed chewing on poisonous millipedes then rubbing the leggy critters throughout their genitals and anuses. The weird behaviour could also be a solution to fight parasites that might in any other case arrange residence within the lemurs’ guts.

In November 2016, Louise Peckre of the Leibniz Institute for Primate Research in Göttingen, Germany was observing red-fronted lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons) in a forest in central Madagascar. The first heavy rains had simply arrived, prompting many millipedes to emerge from underground.

Peckre watched …