Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Black and White Ruffed Lemur


Eastern side of Madagascar


Primary rain forest


Ruffed lemurs get their name from the long, thick hair that runs from theirs ears down to their chins. Variable amounts of black and white fur, depending on where they are found; in the south the fur is more white, and in the north it is more black.

Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Diurnal and arboreal. Most ruffed lemurs live in pair-bonded units and are the only lemurs that build nests. They pursue sitting birds of prey and confront carnivores on the ground. This may be to distract predators from a nest with young. Females form the core of the group and defend the territory. During the cooler winter, ruffed lemurs travel less, sun themselves, and feed more.


After a gestation of 90 - 102 days, 2 infant lemurs are usually born. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are the largest lemur to have three pairs of nipples and multiple infants. The young remain in the nest for the first week and are carried in the mother's mouth rather than clinging to her. Sexual maturity is reached at 20 months.

Interesting Facts:

Lemurs are found only on the island of Madagascar where they were mostly isolated from predators until people arrived about 2,000 years ago. Man hunted and modified the habitat. Man introduced species, particularly cattle and goats which have further destroyed lemur habitat.

Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Today, all species of lemurs are seriously threatened by destruction of their habitat for fuel, timber, or local agricultural development. The one natural predator of the ruffed lemur is the fossa, a cat-like relative of the mongoose that specializes in hunting lemurs.

Did YOU Know?    
Ruffed lemurs are the only primates to have true litters of offspring.
Black and White Ruffed Lemur
Class: mammals
Genus: Varecia
Species: variegata variegata
Length: Body: 19.7 inches; tail: 23.6 inches
Weight: 122 - 124 ounces
Average Lifespan: 13.5
Wild Diet: Fruit, seeds, leaves, nectar
Predators: Fossa
USFWS Status: Endangered
CITES Status: Appendix I
Where at the Zoo? Primate Building

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