Red-ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra)

red ruffed lemur

Head to World of Lemurs to find them. It's behind Marwell Hall and Tropical World next to our formal garden.

Fast facts

Status Critically Endangered

Size Head and body length: 50-55cm. Tail length: 60-65cm

Weight 3.5-4.5kg

Gestation 3 ½ months

Young 2-3

Life span 15-20 years

What do I eat?

Red-ruffed lemurs will mostly eat fruit, nectar and pollen. They have also been seen eating leaves and seeds.

These animals play a very important role in plant reproduction (pollination). When they feed on the pollen and nectar from flowers, the pollen will stick to the fur on their noses and be transported to many different plants as they feed, which will then help these plants to reproduce and make seeds.

Where do I live?

Like other lemurs, the red-ruffed lemurs are only found on the island of Madagascar.

They mostly live in primary and deciduous rainforests, and spend most of their time high up in the forest canopy.


Red-ruffed lemurs are social animals, and like to live in groups of 2 to 16 individuals.

In the wild their breeding season is usually from May to July, and most births are from September to November.

Often a female will give birth to twins or triplets. Unlike other primates they do not cling on to their mother. Instead the female red-ruffed lemur gives birth inside a nest, where she will leave them as she goes to find food, and will come back to feed her young. If the female needs to move her offspring, she will carry them in her mouth.

For their first few weeks, young red-ruffed lemurs will stay in their nest. They are weaned by 4 months old and are fully mature by 2 years old.


The main predator of red-ruffed lemurs is the fossa.

To stay safe, these lemurs will give a loud alarm call when a threat has been spotted to warn the rest of the group of danger, and this also warns other animals that there is danger nearby.


The main threats to these animals in the wild are hunting and habitat loss through illegal logging and fires.

Red-ruffed lemurs are officially protected in some areas of its range. Sadly there are some areas within these protected zones that have been badly affected by illegal logging in recent years.

These animals can be found in many zoos worldwide, and are a part of a captive breeding program to ensure the survival of these amazing lemurs from the threat of extinction.

Did you know?

Red-ruffed lemurs have 6 front (incisor) teeth on their bottom jaw that is known as a ‘tooth comb’, they use this to groom themselves, and it also helps with peeling the skin off fruit.

Due to logging for fuel, building materials and farmland, the forests of Madagascar have been reduced by 85%.


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Group Visits

We had a really great day

We had a really great day, there were 6 children of various ages in our group and they were all really interested and occupied all the time, they loved it.Joy - Summers Family Visit, 27th October 2017