Sifaka Lemur


Verreaux's Sifaka bounding on hind legs to cross open ground
Verreaux’s Sifaka bounding on hind legs to cross open ground

Scientific name: Propithecus verreauxi

Conservation status:endangered

Life expectancy: 20 years in the wild

Gestation period: 162 days


Lifestyle and Location:

  • The Sifaka lemurs are frugivorous and eat leaves, fruits and flowers and lives mainly in the Madagascan spiny forest where the trees have formidable spikes coming off. This is one of the hottest and driest forests in the world and can exceed 40 degrees Celsius with no rain for months on end. They jump up to 9 meters between these trees and land with their hands between the dense spikes.
  • Grooming is a large part of their social structure and they have specially designed inner angled teeth known as a “toothcomb” that they groom each other with.
  • They have troops of 3-10 individuals and they become independent from their mother at 2-3 years.
  • There are 9 known species of sifaka which are, Silky, Coquereli, crowned, Van der Decken’s, diademed, Milne-Edward’s, Perrier’s, golden- crowned and Verreaux’s sifaka.


The Diademed Sifaka weighs around 3-6.7 kg and their bodies are 37-53 cm long on average with a tail that can be up to 61 cm. The females are usually a little heavier and larger. They have silky long fur that is grey on their shoulders and back. They have dark grey faces with thin hairs on and their cheeks, forehead and throat are covered in white fur. Their tails are shorter than their body.

Joss‘s Facts

  • The name “sifaka” is named from their alarm call which sounds like “shih-fak”
  • They can jump over 30 feet which is the furthest of all lemurs with the Indri lemur.
  • When on ground they hop sideways (as shown on the picture at the top) on two legs, which is very tiring! For this reason they don’t go down to the ground often and are the only lemurs that jump like this.
  • They have predators such as large birds like hawks and fossa (closely related to the mongoose).