Good Things Come in Pairs!

Two black and white ruffed lemur infants

Twins Kepler (left) and Spitzer (right) at one month old. Photo by David Haring.

On the afternoon of May 7, 2023, black and white ruffed lemur mom Halley went into labor. Over the next two hours, she gave birth in her “baby suite” under the watchful eyes of our animal caretakers to Kepler, a 91g female infant, and Spitzer, a 96g male infant.

While black and white ruffed lemurs can give birth to up to six infants at a time, experienced mom Halley has a history of birthing twins and triplets. Kepler and Spitzer are Halley’s first infants with new breeding partner Bruno, as well as the first twins of our 2023 baby season!

Adult female black and white ruffed lemur inside kennel with two infants

Black and white ruffed lemurs are one of the few diurnal species to build nests for their infants. Our animal caretakers provided mom Halley with a variety of kennels, baskets, and blankets to keep Spitzer (left) and Kepler (right) safe and secure. Photo taken nine days after birth by Madison A.

Reaching for the Stars

Infant black and white ruffed lemur yawning

A big yawn from female infant Kepler! Photo by David Haring.

Like all ruffed lemurs born at the DLC, the twins’ names are inspired by celestial bodies. Mom Halley is named for Halley’s Comet, and Kepler and Spitzer are named after two of NASA’s space telescopes. They will be living with older siblings Sunshine, Orbit, and Sputnik, in addition to mom and dad.

NASA space telescopes

Kepler Space Telescope (left) and Spitzer Space Telescope (right), the twins’ namesakes. Photos from NASA.

Sunshine, Orbit, and Sputnik are Halley’s offspring from three years ago with former partner Ravo. After Ravo passed away, Bruno was transferred to the DLC from Albuquerque Biological Park on a breeding recommendation with Halley. At seven members, Halley’s family is currently the largest group of lemurs living together at the DLC.

Animal caretaker Madison reports that Bruno has been a fantastic father thus far. “Halley trusted him to babysit very quickly. He sits with them and lets them steal pieces of his food.” She also mentioned that she often sees Bruno laying around and watching the twins play.

Mother and two infant black and white ruffed lemurs

One-month-old Kepler and Spitzer have started exploring their enclosure with mom Halley. The shave in Halley’s tail is a haircut used for identification—the older triplets are starting to look like spitting images of their mom! Photo by Madison A.

Two infant black and white ruffed lemurs being held in gloved hand.

Spitzer (left) and Kepler (right), two days old, being handled carefully by our animal technicians at their infant wellness exam. They grow up so quickly! Photo by Hannah W.