Fun Silky Sifaka Facts For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
Oct 20, 2022 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Silky sifaka facts are interesting

Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus) is a species of lemur only found in a restricted range of northeastern Madagascar. In that region of Madagascar, the silky sifaka is known locally as simpona.

Silky sifaka is a large lemur with long and silky white-colored fur. Due to various reasons like habitat loss and hunting at an alarming rate, these Endangered primates are considered one of the rarest species in the world.

Silky sifakas are found in some protected areas and rainforests in the region with the majority of the population in the Marojejy National Park and Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve.

The population of the silky sifakas has reduced so much that only a few group members have been documented in recent times. There is no local taboo for hunting and eating these animals, which has led to a decline in the population of the silky sifakas.

Silky sifakas are known for their scent-marking behaviors where males scent mark trees by rubbing the trees with their chest gland, genital glands, or both. Females are known to do it by rubbing the genital glands in a vertical motion. The mating includes females giving birth to one young every two years or so.

The majority of the feeding of these primates consists of leaves and seeds, like all eastern sifakas. During feeding, females take priority over males. The social structure of the silky sifaka is variable and groups are formed between males and females with male-female pairs, one-male groups, and multi-male or multi-female groups.

For more relatable content, check out these gopher facts and numbat facts for kids!

Silky Sifaka Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a silky sifaka?

Silky sifaka is a species of large lemur found only in Madagascar.

What class of animal does a silky sifaka belong to?

Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus) belongs to the class of Mammalia in the kingdom of Animalia.

How many silky sifakas are there in the world?

The population size of the lemurs known as silky sifakas is known to be just 100-1,000 individuals. Groups and members of mature males and females are calculated only to be around 250 individuals currently.

Habitat disturbance and hunting of these lemurs have led to this decline in the population of the species and conservation practices to save the lemurs have all failed for now.

The silky sifaka has been observed in only a few places in Madagascar. The animal is observed in some protected areas of the region.

Where does a silky sifaka live?

The distribution range of the silky sifakas is restricted to the range of northwestern Madagascar. The range extends from Maroantsetra to the Andapa Basin.

Group members are also found in Antainambalana River in the south and Maraojejy National Park to the north. Apart from this range, they also have been seen in far north areas of the Bemarivo River near Sambava. The range of the lemurs is restricted on the northwest side of Madagascar by the Androranga River in the Tsaratanana Corridor.

The search for the species is limited to these areas. Apart from these, a group of the species with long, silky white fur is scattered on the trees of the restricted areas of Marojeju and Anjanaharibe.

Most of the silky sifakas are now found in the elevated areas of the Marojejy National Park and Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve. They are found in areas of height from 2300-6152 ft (701.04-1875.13 m).

What is a silky sifaka's habitat?

The silky sifaka habitat consists of montane and mid-altitude rainforest. The sifakas are more common in rainy areas. The species inhabit high elevations which include sclerophyllous forest and low ericoid bush. As the species is arboreal, the search for the group can be focused on the trees of these rainforests.

The ecology of silky sifaka consists of tropical moist montane forests where it is seen feeding on over 100 different species of tree, vine, and epiphytic/parasitic plants. The animal is seed feeding mostly on the leaves and seeds of the trees.

The population of the Propithecus candidus is quite restricted and only a few are left in the world.

Who do silky sifakas live with?

The social structure of the lemur silky sifaka is unique. The social structure of the lemur species includes groups of male-female pairs, one-male groups, and multi-male or multi-female groups.

How long does a silky sifaka live?

The lifespan of the silky sifaka is not known, and this species cannot survive in captivity. The Verreaux's sifaka is known to live for around 23 years of age. The lifespan of the group silky sifaka should be similar to this species.

How do they reproduce?

It is not known if the silky sifakas remain in the same pair for a lifetime or just during the mating period. Mating is done in a few days from November to January every year.

A single infant is born in June/July. Usually, females give birth every two years. Maternal care is huge in this species and the social behavior shown by the infants in clinging to the mother's belly is common to all sifakas.

What is their conservation status?

The population of the Propithecus candidus is decreasing at an alarming rate. The silky sifaka conservation status has been categorized as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List.

Habitat loss and hunting are the main causes of this status. Also, in Madagascar, it is not illegal to kill and eat these animals. Habitat disturbance like slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging of precious woods, and fuelwood has also added to the problems for the silky sifaka.

This rare species can only be seen most in the Marojejy National Park and Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve in Madagascar. For proper conservation, education and awareness should be provided to all people involved in the area.

Silky Sifaka Fun Facts

What do silky sifakas look like?

The silky sifaka species has long silky white fur. In few individuals, the crown, back, and limbs are colored silver-gray and the lower back and the base of the tail are of darker coloration. The base of the tail is also yellow sometimes. The face of the silky sifaka is colored slate-gray black and is mostly bare.

The eyes are orange in color. Some specimens have no skin pigment on their face and have a pink or slate-gray face. Their ears are black.

Males have a brown chest patch. This chest patch increases in size in the mating season. Sometimes, during this season, the patches cover the entire chest and reach the abdomen even. Barring this, males and females look the same.

How cute are they?

They are considered quite cute.

How do they communicate?

Communication of the silky sifakas is achieved by the method of scent-marking. Males are known for scent marking over the scent mark made by other group members and preferably females.

The name sifaka is given because of the distinct alarm call made by the species. This is also a mode of communication.

How big is a silky sifaka?

The body length of the silky sifaka is 18.9-21.2 in (48-54 cm).

The Coquerel's sifaka, a lemur species from northwest Madagascar is another member of the silky sifaka family of Indriidae. The height of these animals called the Coquerel's sifaka has a range from 16-19 in (40.64-48.26 cm).

However, the ring-tailed lemur has a length of 17.7 in (45 cm) and a weight of 5-7.5 lb (2.2-3.4 kg). It is a species of lemur found in Southwestern Madagascar.

How fast can a silky sifaka move?

Silky sifaka locomotion is achieved by leaping by jumping gracefully to the side using their arms to balance. Their speed, however, is unknown.

How much does a silky sifaka weigh?

The weight of the silky sifaka is 11.02-14.33 lb (5-6.5 kg).

The largest lemurs in the world known commonly as babakotos or indri has weight with a range of 13-21 lb (5.9-9.5 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and females are not given different names.

What would you call a baby silky sifaka?

They are called young or infants.

What do they eat?

The silky sifaka eating is like all eastern sifakas. Females take priority over males when feeding. The species mostly feed on mature and young leaves, seeds, fruits, and flowers. It is also known to feed on flowers, bark, and soil.

The fossa is considered the natural predator of the silky sifakas. Humans are also predators of the species.

Are they loud?

Seven loud distinct calls are made by the species to communicate and when in the vicinity of predators. It also makes loud roars by looking at the sky when it spots a large Madagascar buzzard or other small birds.

Would they make a good pet?

It is not possible for them to survive outside their natural habitat. Zoo habitats are not comfortable for the members of this genus. The silky sifaka lemur cannot be kept as a pet.

Did you know...

The silky sifaka has been documented within the Makira Forest Protected area, Betaolana corridor, Tsaratanana Corridor, Marojejy National Park, and Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve in Madagascar.

In their range of northeastern Madagascar, the silky sifakas are known locally as Simpona.

They are not extinct yet, but soon will be if not taken proper care of.

Vero sifakas are known for their remarkable leaps through the trees.

Why are silky sifakas endangered?

The Endangered status is given to the species due to the habitat destruction and hunting practices in the area. There are no rules or laws prohibiting people from eating and hunting this species down.

How did silky sifaka lemurs get their name?

Silky sifaka lemurs have a white silky furred body, hence the name.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these mongoose facts and interesting coatimundi facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Silky sifaka coloring pages.

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

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Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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