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Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur
Varecia variegata

Habitat: coastal tropical rainforest

Range: eastern Madagascar

Natural Diet: fruits, leaves, flowers, seeds, nectar

Status in the Wild: Critically endangered


Animal Facts

As with most lemurs, females are generally dominant; they get the best choices of food, defend groups and choose their mate. Ruffed lemurs live in family groups and are the only lemurs to build nests. Mothers will leave their young in the nest while they forage for food. The lemur's thick bushy tail serves as a visual signal when it is threatened, or as a balancing tool when it leaps through the trees. Their loud alarm call includes barking that sound like dog fighting. Lemurs like to hang upside down by their feet to feed.

Conservation: wild population could have declined by 80% in the last 27 years. The major threats are habitat loss, slash-and-burn agriculture, logging and mining in their natural habitat. Poaching could also be the reason for their decline in the wild.

To learn more about field efforts to conserve black and white ruffed lemurs, click here


These primates are black and white in color (Photo courtesy: Scott Findley Photography)


Distributional range

All species lemurs are endemic to Madagascar, the island in black to the right of Africa.