Red-ruffed lemur

Common Name: Red-ruffed Lemur

Scientific Name: Varecia rubra

 Head to Life Among the Trees to find them. It’s behind Marwell Hall and next to our formal garden.

When firstborn, a red-ruffed lemur will weigh just under 100g.

The red-ruffed lemur has an extensive vocal repertoire. It uses cries in various contexts with the most characteristic vocalisation being a very loud and raucous call used in territorial encounters.


Fast Facts

  • Status

    Critically Endangered

  • Size

    Head-body: 50-55cm; tail length: 60-65cm

  • Weight


  • Gestation

    102 days

  • Young

    1-5 in captivity and 2-3 in the wild

  • Life span

    Up to 35 years

In the wild

The red-ruffed lemur is the most frugivorous of Madagascar’s primates with up to 90% of its diet consisting of fruit. The rest is made up of flowers, nectar and leaves.

Red-ruffed lemurs are found in a very small area, only inhabiting the forests of the Masolala Peninsula in north-eastern Madagascar. This is a tropical, moist lowland forest and the lemurs prefer to be in the canopy of large feeding trees.

The mating season for red-ruffed lemurs is around May-July with births occurring from September through to early November. Females begin to change their diet to consume more high protein items like young leaves and flowers just before birth to help with the high energy needed to produce milk for their young. These lemurs live in communities of between 5 and 30 individuals and it is a collaborative effort to care for the young.

The main threats to the red-ruffed lemur are habitat loss and unsustainable hunting. Due to their large size, these animals are sadly still hunted and trapped for food. Their habitat can also be threatened by fire, logging and frequent cyclones that hit the Masoala peninsula. The range of this species has also been heavily impacted on by a rapid upsurge of illegal logging after 2009.  The red-ruffed lemur is protected within the Masoala National Park and the Makira Protected Area but unfortunately Masoala National Park was subjected to some heavy illegal logging in 2009 and the lemurs’ habitat suffered as a consequence. This species is listed on Appendix I of CITES which means that international trade of the red-ruffed lemur and its parts is prohibited.

Meet Marwell's Red-ruffed lemur

Meet Marwell's Red-ruffed lemur

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