Animals : Primates : Lemurs

Black-and-white ruffed lemur

Lemurs are found only on the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa. They are different to other primates due to their dog-like muzzle and wet nose. There are three sub-species of black and white ruffed lemur. The sub-species kept at Twycross Zoo

(V.v.variegata) are mostly black with white rump and legs and a white ruff around the face.

Lemurs form groups of up to 30 individuals with multiple males and females. It is the females that are dominant in the group and readily defend their territory through loud barking calls. Males and females both have a scent gland in their neck, which

is used to mark the territory. Bonds in the group are strengthened through grooming. However, lemurs lack the ability to manipulate their fingers like other primates and so instead groom with their bottom teeth, which stick out from the jaw creating a comb.

Females usually give birth to twins but up to six offspring in a single birth has been observed. Infants are weaned at around four and a half months old and are close to full size by six months of age.

The majority of the ruffed lemurs diet is fruit but they also eat seeds, leaves and nectar. Some individuals have also been observed to eat soil!

The main threat facing ruffed lemurs is habitat loss for logging or urban development. They are particularly sensitive to this due to their dependence on fruiting trees. They are also threatened by hunting for bush meat and the pet trade.

  • Black and White Ruffed Lemur
  • Black and white ruffed lemur
  • Black and white ruffed lemur

Key Facts

  • Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
  • Distribution: Madagascar
  • Habitat: Tropical Forest
  • Diet: Fruit, Grains, Leaves, Nectar
  • Height: 50 - 60cm
  • Weight: 3 - 4.5kg
  • Gestation: 90 - 102 days
  • No. of young: 2 - 6
  • Life Span: 19 years