YRWS red ruffed lemur icon


{ varecia rubra }
These beautiful primates are the largest lemurs in Madagascar, where they are usually found sunbathing or grooming their thick fur coats.


Zannah is the lowest lemur on the totem pole. The keepers are able to tell her apart from the other 2 because she has white on her lower back. She is also more likely to approach the keepers on the ground than in the branches like the other lemurs in her troupe. Revan is the only male in the red ruffed troupe. He is also the friendliest and loves armpit scratches. He will often come up to the fence if the keepers are talking outside of it and stretch his arms up, so the keepers are able to scratch them through the fence. Traya is the dominant female of the troupe. She is usually bossing Zannah around and often has the tip of her tongue outside of her mouth.


critically endangered status

Critically Endangered

Yellow River Wildlife Sanctuary Red Ruffed Lemur compared to size of man

Compared to a 6′ Man

YRWS weight icon

7 – 8 lbs

YRWS lifespan icon

15 – 20 Years

YRWS diet icon


YRWS regions icon


Red ruffed lemurs are found only in the rainforests of Masoala, in the northeast region of Africa’s island, Madagascar. There they live in the highest treetop canopy. All of the lemur species (almost 200 of them) are from Madagascar. Illegal logging (especially for valuable tropical hardwoods), fires, and mining have reduced the available forest in which the red ruffed lemur lives. Hunting, illegal trade, and natural threats find these lemurs on the Critically Endangered list.


Red ruffed lemurs are the most unique of all the lemurs. They are larger than other lemurs, standing about 19 inches tall. They have thick, soft, reddish coats of fur. Their long tails and undersides are black. Their paws and faces are covered in shorter black fur. They have long white fur at the base of their heads where their neck begins and may have patches of white in other areas. They have tiny ears which may be covered by the longer fur that surrounds their face.


In addition to fruit, red-ruffed lemurs may eat pollen, nectar, seeds, leaves, and flowers – but their favorite meal is figs. Social animals live in matriarchal groups (or troupes) varying in size ranging from 2 to 32 individuals. The availability of food generally determines the size – more food equals larger numbers staying together. They are diurnal, looking for food mostly in the morning and early evening hours, spending the daytime grooming, soaking in the sun’s warmth and grooming.

Red ruffed lemurs are polygamous, with males choose females to breed with from within their troop or sometimes from a nearby group. After a gestation period of 102 days, the female, or doe, will give birth to up to 6 pups. However, the average is 3. They are the only primate with litters of young. They are also the only primates to keep babies in a nest high in the treetops as opposed to carrying them around.

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