Red Ruffed Lemur

The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Varecia rubra
  • Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
  • Location: The island of Madagascar

Red Lemur
Red Lemur

The Scoop

Rare Tree Dweller

Red ruffed lemurs are tree dwellers that are found in the deciduous tropical forests of Northern Madagascar. Slender bodied and long legged, red ruffed lemurs have a narrow, fox-like snout and small ears that are hidden by a ruff of hair. Their soft, woolly body fur is a deep rusty red while their extremities, forehead, crown, belly and tail are black.  Red ruffed lemurs live in social groups consisting of 2 to 16 animals. They warn each other with a complex system of at least 12 different sounds. These alarm calls can be low grunts, gurgling sounds or a cackle-like roar.

Red ruffed lemurs are among the largest of lemurs. Their bodies are about 20 inches long, and their bushy tails are as long as their bodies. They weigh around 7 to 10 pounds or about as much as an average new born baby. Their diet varies according to the seasons, and they feed mainly on fruits, leaves, nectar and seeds. Red ruffed lemurs are extremely rare.  Habitat destruction, hunting and capture by humans are the main reasons why they are critically endangered. Fortunately, red ruffed lemurs breed well in captivity. You can help in the red ruffed lemur by joining a Conservation Organization of your choice and supporting those industries in Madagascar that protect the rain forests that are its home.

Did You Know? 

  • A lemur's soft, broad fingers and toes have flat nails that allow it to grip objects and groom other lemurs.
  • The red ruffed lemur's thick bushy tail serves as a visual signal when it is threatened or as a balancing tool when it leaps through the trees.
  • Red ruffed lemurs have special scent glands on their wrists and bottoms that leave scent trails on branches to mark their territories.
  • A female lemur carries her newborn to a new nest site in her mouth.


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