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The Dancing Lemurs (Verreaux’s Sifakas) of Madagascar

por | Articles, Madagascar

Madagascar, the Island of endemics, holds the record of endemic species. Of course, Lemurs are the most famous animals that inhabit the Island, and most travelers search for them during a Madagascar Safari.

Of the 101 species and subspecies of Lemurs that exist (The number is approximated since scientists are still debating the taxonomy of the animal), one that most visitors expect to see in the wild during a Madagascar tour is the Verreaux’s Sifaka Lemur, also known as “dancing lemur.” They obtain this name thanks to how they move on the earth, a very choreographed way of “walking,” which is quite amusing to observe.

Dancing Lemurs Details 

Their range includes the wet tropical rainforests to the dry spiny forests of Madagascar.

The Verreaux’s Sifaka Lemur is medium in size compared to other lemurs species and is the only one with hands and feet slightly webbed.

Their white body fur, black face, and big eyes make them quite attractive. They have a very long tail, up to 24 inches (longer than their body size!), which helps balance when leaping from tree to tree and when “dancing” on the ground.

They are about 18 inches in height when they reach maturity and can weigh from 7 to 8 pounds, with the males usually being larger than the females. They have dental differences that set them apart from other species of Lemurs.

The Verreaux’s Sifaka Lemur lives in mixed groups of up to 12 individuals; 2 or 3 males, 2 or 3 females, and their offsprings.

The female is sexually mature around the age of 3 and can have 1 (most of the time) to 2 babies per litter. The young hold on to the mother’s belly for 3 to 4 weeks and then ride on her back. It is entirely independent at seven months. Their average lifespan is 18 years.

They usually feed themselves twice a day, once in the early morning and again in the late afternoon. They will rest during the remains of the day. They mainly eat leaves and various items, including twigs, bark, nuts, and fruits.

A Vulnerable Species

The beautiful Verreaux’s Sifaka Lemur is a primate that has a grim future. Nowadays, they are categorized as vulnerable because of the rapid destruction of their natural habitat that represents the primary threat to them and all the lemurs in Madagascar. An excellent way to support this and other endangered species of Madagascar is visiting the Island. New Paths Expeditions includes the national parks and private reserves that have proven their conservation efforts success in its Madagascar Expeditions.

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