The king of the swingers; the black-and-white ruffed lemur is the largest member of the Lemuridae family; weighing up to 4.5 kilograms. It get’s its name from its patchwork of thick black and white fur. They have striking yellow eyes framed by a white ruff that surrounds the head. These have a real head for heights, and even give birth to their young in nests high in the forest canopy.
Breeding often occurs in May or July, with the offspring being born September or October after what is typically a 102 day gestation period. The black-and-white ruffed lemur often gives birth to twins or triplets which will spend the start of their lives in nests up to 20 metres above the forest floor. Once the young reach four years of age they are totally independent; foraging for themselves. It is, however, luck for young to reach this age as only 35% of offspring live beyond the first three months.
Threats in the wild
The black-and-white ruffed lemur is classified as critically endangered, with less than 10,000 individuals thought to be left in the wild. Living in the forests of Madagascar, these lemurs are particularly threatened by habitat loss through logging, mining and agriculture. This, coupled with the fact that it is one of the most hunted lemurs in Madagascar (due to its large size and diurnal nature); means that the future isn’t looking to bright for this most beautiful of species.