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Black and White Ruffed Lemur

  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Lemuridae
  • Genus: Varecia
  • Species: variegata
Fun Fact

Ruffed lemurs have twins or triplets that are born in September or October. Black and white ruffed lemurs may even have up to six offspring!

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About Black and White Ruffed Lemurs

Scientists believe that lemurs are pre-monkeys and that they have been on earth longer than monkeys and apes. They have a long canine-like snout that is equipped with a moist nose. This nose is very important because lemurs depend of the sense of smell more than the sense of sight to gather food and information from their environment. Ruffed lemurs are named so because of the white ruff of fur around their ears. Black and white ruffed lemurs are the largest of the true lemurs. They are about four feet long from head to tail and weigh about 7-12 pounds. The ruffed lemur is very agile and is able to leap several meters from tree to tree onto both horizontal and vertical supports. They are considered to be crepuscular - active at dawn and dusk.

The black and white ruffed lemur lives in subgroups of 2 to 5 members. This group consists of a male and a female and any offspring that they may have. The female is larger and forms the core of the subgroup. She must also defend the territory. Females can chose who they will mate with and also have first access to food because they are considered to be dominant.

Black and White Ruffed Lemurs in the Wild


Tree dwelling, found mainly in the wet evergreen forests of eastern Madagascar.


Island of Madagascar


They eat a diet of primarily fruits, but will also eat seeds, nectar, and plant matter. Lemurs seldom use their hands to manipulate food items, but rather pull food-bearing branches to their mouth to feed. Ruffed lemurs have been known to eat soil in order to obtain important minerals.

Population Status

According to IUCN, the black and white ruffed lemur is considered “critically endangered.” This is due in large part to the continued destruction of the Madagascar rainforest. The ruffed lemur is also hunted and trapped for food by many. 

Field Conservation

Through the Akron Zoo's Conservation Fund, the zoo supports the Madagascar Fauna Group and its conservation efforts to protect lemurs and other endangered species only found in Madagascar through research, education and community programs.

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