Red Ruffed Lemur

STATUSCritically Endangered


DIETFruit, flowers, leaves, and nectar

RANGENative to Masoala Peninsula

HABITATDeciduous tropical forests

Red Ruffed Lemur

Physical Description

Red Ruffed Lemurs are one of the largest primates in Madagascar and one of the largest living lemur species in the world. They are also
considered one of the largest pollinator species as well. As they feed,
pollen gets stuck to the fur around their faces and is then transported from tree to tree.

Ruffed lemurs are among the most vocal of the non-human primates. Lemurs use at least 12 different known calls to communicate with one another, defend their territory, and to
alert each other of potential predators. The alarm calls they use when a predator is nearby can vary based on the location of the predator. Their calls can be so loud that they echo through the rainforest!


Their natural predators in the wild are hawks, boa constrictors, and fossae, which are large carnivores related to the mongoose with qualities of a cat.


In the wild, they live an average of 15-20 years, but can live longer in human care.


The red ruffed lemur reproductive season spans from May to July. Males will call and scent mark in order to impress the females.
After a gestation period of about 100 days, females will give birth to litters of 2-6 offspring. Red ruffed lemurs do not carry their offspring on their back , instead females create a nest out of twigs up in the treetops. This is where the babies will stay for the first few weeks of their life.

After the first few weeks, the young will be carried by mouth from site to site and are protected by the males. Young lemurs develop rapidly and are as mobile and agile as adults by about 4 months old.

Fun Facts

  • Red ruffed lemurs have scent glands located on their wrists and rear end that they use for group identification and to designate territory.
  • Female red ruffed lemurs can nurse their entire litter at the same time.

Conservation Messaging

Human activity is decimating the red ruffed lemur populations and their home on the island of Madagascar is diminishing at an alarming rate. In fact, it’s estimated that about 1-2% of Madagascar’s forests are destroyed each year, and only about 10% of Madagascar’s forests remain.

One thing that we can do is support sustainable agriculture practices. By purchasing products that are certified by organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance and Bird Friendly, you are helping in the conservation of forests and habitats around the world.

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