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Shell Factory holds contest to name new lemurs

By Staff | Aug 13, 2013

The Shell Factory is counting on the public to name two of the newest residents at its Nature Park.

During the month of August, people have a chance to fill out an entry form at the Shell Factory to name the male and female red-ruffed lemurs it obtained a few weeks ago.

The winner of the contest will win a day of fun at the Shell Factory for the whole family, up to six people. This includes lunch, a trip through the Nature Park, a round of miniature golf and a ride on the paddle boats or bumper boats.

Marketing Director Rick Tupper said the response so far has been great.

“We’ve had about 200 entries so far and expect a lot more as the contest concludes,” Tupper said. “We’ve had the usual names like Bonnie and Clyde and Sonny and Cher, but we’ve also had some interesting ones.”

The lemurs, which are native to Madagascar and on the endangered list, have been on display at the Nature Park since Aug. 6, thought they’ve been here for about a month. They are about five months old, and the hope is that they fall in love and someday produce other lemurs, Tupper said.

In captivity, the lemurs can have a lifespan of about 25 to 30 years.

Karen Schneider, director at the Nature Park, said with the animal native exclusively to Madagascar, it makes it a good educational animal to have around.

“It’s not something people are going to see commonly in Florida. The red-ruffers are the largest lemur species,” Schneider said.

Schneider added that the contest has gotten people interested in seeing the lemurs and bringing more traffic into the park.

“People have been visiting the lemurs, getting an idea of their personality and filling out the forms. Some people are calling them their own names right now,” Schneider said. “We’re interested in setting them up with names to make training a little easier.”

Schneider said the lemurs are docile, although it’s not a good idea to have them for pets as they like to jump around and get into things, and could get aggressive if they feel they’re being attacked.

Tupper said the promotion was a way to get things going at the Shell Factory again, as this has been a slow month so far.

“We’re remodeling Dog Bone’s Caf in the back that’s dog friendly and looking to get more local families here in September, so we’re going to have a Family Appreciation Day throughout the month,” Tupper said.

There will be dollar beers and sodas, a new bar menu and a line of pearl and gemstone jewelry with 30 percent off on that, as well as $2 off on nature park tickets, Tupper said.

The Shell Factory, which is located on U.S. 41 in North Fort Myers, is also holding a Groupon promotion, and on Aug. 29, the Guinness Book of Records will be at the park as several dogs attempt world records for jumping length and height, Tupper said.