Native to Madagascar, the Black and White Ruffed Lemur are one of two species of ruffed lemurs. Both the Black and White and the Red species of ruffed lemurs are Critically Endangered. Of the two, the Black and White are considered to be the more endangered species. Black and White Ruffed Lemurs are the largest extant members of the family Lemuridae.
Their sizes range from 3.3 feet and weigh around 6.8 to 9 pounds. The Black and White Ruffed Lemurs prefer to spend most of their time in the high canopies of the rain forests. Whether in the trees or on the ground, they prefer quadrupedal locomotion (using all four limbs), and while feeding they prefer suspending by their tails.
The Black and White Ruffed Lemurs main diet consists of mainly fruit. Nectar and flowers are also favored, and they will also eat leaves and some seeds.
They are known for their loud and raucous calls, which are used for a variety of reasons, such as group movement, alarming others of predators and spacing among other groups. These calls only last for a few seconds. Within, and outside the context of feedings, female Black and White Ruffed Lemurs will show the rare behavior of female dominance. Aggressive interactions between males and females are typically won by the female. One reason for this behavior is to show priority for the females during feeding. The dominant female will lead the group to food and will eat more than the rest of the group.
Reproduction within the Black and White Ruffed Lemurs has a very small window of 6-12 hours per year. Gestation typically lasts 102 days and can result in a litter of 2-6 offspring. When born, the offspring are unable to cling to their mothers, so a nest is built where they will remain until they are able to be on their own. The mother will stay with their offspring nearly 24 hours a day the first two weeks after birth. Both males and females will help guard the nests.