Black and White Ruffed Lemur



    Varecia variegata
    Tropical Forests
    Critically Endangered


The Lake

About the Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Like its relative the Red Ruffed Lemur, the Black & White Ruffed Lemur is named for the long thick fur that grows around its head and body. An agile and active primate, males and females are very similar in appearance and generally weigh between seven and 12 pounds.


The Black & White Lemur is native to the island of Madagascar, off the east African coast, and though it has a larger range within the rainforests on the eastern side of the island than the Red Ruffed Lemur, it has much smaller population numbers. The Lemur is also arboreal, spending most of its time high up in the tree canopy.

Wild Notes

The species is primarily diurnal, which means it is most active during daylight hours. The animal’s diet consists mainly of fruits, seeds, nectar and plant matter and it also scent marks its territories and uses an elaborate system of alarm calls to alert other group members if predictors move in close by.

The Black and White Lemur has a complex social structure within its groups. It also differs from other Lemurs in that females have a shorter gestation period and produce larger litters, with young reaching maturity more quickly.


The more endangered of the two species of Ruffed Lemur, the Black and White Lemur is preyed upon by several other animals in the wild – including Fossa and the Ring-tailed Mongoose – and though it has a larger range than the Red Ruffed Lemurs, its numbers are smaller and more spread out. As a result, the species is considered to be Critically Endangered.

Did You Know?

The Ruffed Lemur feeds on nectar by sticking its long nose deep into the flower. The Lemur’s snout becomes coated with pollen, which is then transported to other flowers – making the animal an important pollinator. There are also three subspecies of Black and White Lemur.

The Fota Connection.

Fota is home to three of the 16 species of Lemur in the world today and two of those varieties are the Black and White and Red Ruffed species. The Ruffed Lemurs live on separate islands near each other in the Lakes area and it is hoped to expand the Park’s collection of Lemurs in the coming years. The Park continues to support ongoing scientific work that aims to help the species in the wild, along with the Jersey-based Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.


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