Verreaux's Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi)

Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family:    Indriidae
Size:    Length: 18 to 22 inches (45 to 55 cm) 
Weight: 8 to 13 lbs (3.5 to 6 kg) 
Diet: Leaves, fruit, flowers, dead wood and bark
Distribution: Madagascar
Young:  1 young
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: Vulnerable 
Terms: No special terms
Lifespan: Up to 18 years in captivity



·       Their name comes from the “shi-fak” call they make when they are alarmed. 

·       They are portrayed in the Disney movie Dinosaur. 



Verreaux’s sifakas come in a variety of colours. Their face is black and naked, and their soft fur is usually all-white with black, brown, grey and/or maroon areas. They have short arms, but long, powerful legs and large feet. 



Verreaux’s sifakas live in forests that have large trees, and mostly travel from tree to tree without descending to the ground. When they do venture onto the ground, they hop, leap and dance on their back legs from tree to tree. 


Feeding Habits

They eat mostly leaves, but also fruit, flowers, dead wood and bark. They do not drink often, as they get the moisture they need from leaves. 



Females breed with dominant males, and undergo a gestation period of four to five months. Newborns are furless and black. They hang on to their mothers belly for the first three to 12 weeks. After that, they ride on her back for the next 16 to 25 weeks. The young sifakas are weaned when they reach five to six months of age.   



Verreaux’s sifakas are social animals that are active during the daylight hours. They maintain close relationships by grooming each other, and live in groups of three to 13 individuals, with the average being six. There are females and males in each group, and the females are dominant. They enjoying basking in the warm sun with their arms and legs stretched out.



Verreaux’s sifakas are considered vulnerable by the IUCN due to habitat loss and hunting. There are four subspecies and one, Propithecus verreauxi coronatus is listed as Critically Endangered, while another, Propithecus verreauxi coquerili, is listed as Endangered. 



Wild Magazine, August 2001, pp. 46 to 47

All the World’s Animals: Primates. Torstar Books, 1985.