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Kirstie Alley's lemur love!

Kirstie interacts with one of her lemurs in her backyard.

Kirstie Alley loved animals. When she passed away from cancer on Dec. 5 she left several pets behind.

At one time she owned 14 ring-tailed lemurs, big-eyed primates native to Madagascar who had a habitat in her backyard. She also has had dogs and several unconventional pets including a squirrel and wild birds, which she had a license for.

During an appearance on chef Rachael Ray's TV show, she described herself as “an animal lunatic.” She told one funny story about trying to take one of her pet lemurs through airport security.

“They’re crazy, and they’re big,” she said of the animal. “When one of my lemurs was a baby, I was taking her through the airport and I fibbed and said she was a cat. So I had her in the little carrier and I thought they’d just let me walk through. But they changed the rules and said, ‘You have to take your cat out, ma’am.”

"I had to think really fast. So I take her out and I keep her moving so they can’t see her clearly, and I’m like, 'she’s really crazy, she’s so crazy you don’t want to touch her . . . she’ll bite you!'" The plan worked!

Kirstie created a habitat for her 14 ring-tailed lemurs.

In an interview with PEOPLE she explained her love for lemurs.

"I started out (having) lemurs because they are a great animal, and I was very interested in conservation in Madagascar," she explained.

But, she said, even though lemurs are safe and love being around people, she wouldn't recommend them as pets.

“Lemurs live a long time – about 30 years – so it’s a huge responsibility,” she explains. “You have a dog, and it lives for 15 years if you’re lucky, but lemurs live for 30 years or more and they eat all organic, and you have to keep them meticulous. I actually have a full-time animal caretaker. It’s just on my payroll!”


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