Black and White Lemur

The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Varecia variegata variegata
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Location: Madagascar

Black & White Lemur
Black & White Lemur
Black & White Lemur
Black & White Lemur
Black & White Lemur
Black & White Lemur

The Scoop

Round Eyes, Pointed Ears, Long Tail. 

Black and white ruffed lemurs are tree dwelling animals found only in the island of Madagascar, off the south east coast of Africa.  They live in small groups in rain forests of Eastern Madagascar. Black and white ruffed lemurs have large round reflective eyes, furry pointed ears and long tails. They have black and white markings with a mane or ruff of white fur around their neck and a dog like muzzle. Lemurs also have sharp claws on their feet which enable them to hold onto tree branches. They are one of the few animals that live in a matriarchal society, which means that the female lemurs have more control over the group than the male lemur. They feed and groom each other, and sleep close to one another too. They mark their territory by screaming and by scent. They rub leaves and branches or fruit with their palms to leave a distinctive odor.

Black and white ruffed lemurs are about 4 feet in length from their heads to the tip of their tails, and weigh about 8 to 10lbs. They are roughly the size of a large housecat. They mainly eat fruit, leaves, nectar, seeds, and flowers and they have been known to eat soil. They get most of their food from the surrounding trees but will occasionally forage for grub on the forest floor.

The biggest threat to these animals is deforestation, with around 90% of the Madagascan jungle having been destroyed. As a result, their populations are declining rapidly.


Did You Know? 

  • Lemurs get their name from the ancient Roman belief that they were ghosts or spirits.
  • Lemurs hang upside down, holding on by their feet, when feeding!
  • A female lemur carries her newborn in her mouth until the baby is able to cling to the fur on the mother's stomach or back.
  • A lemur's soft, broad fingers and toes have flat nails that allow it to grip objects and groom one another.


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