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Black-and-white lemur

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This relaxed species of lemur enjoys sunbathing and is a great climber. With their human-like hands and specially adapted big toes on their back feet, they have excellent grip and spend most of their time in the trees. As you might expect, this lemur has distinctive black and white markings and gets its name from the large white ‘ruff’ of fur around its neck.

Ruffed lemurs generally travel in male and female groups of up to 30 individuals. As with most lemur species, the females are dominant, and will defend their territories with loud calls and scent marking. Grooming is an important group bonding tool for these lemurs and they use their specialised teeth to groom each other and take care of their thick fluffy coats.

The black and white lemur is one of the most endangered species of lemur. Their main threat is habitat loss, due to aggressive agriculture, logging, and mining. It is thought that almost 90% of the natural forest in Madagascar has been destroyed since human habitation.

Conservation status | Critically endangered

Fact Sheet

Scientific name

Varecia variegata






20 to 25 years in captivity and 18 to 20 years in the wild

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