Male and female Red-bellied lemurs differ from each other in appearance, they are both mostly dark brown but the female has creamy white underparts and the male has small ‘teardrop’ shaped patches under his eyes.
It is thought to be one of the rarest species in the family of Eulmur, but despite this it is not commonly kept in captivity. Habitat loss due to slash and burn agriculture and deforestation, logging and hunting are their main threats. Approximately 90 per cent of Madagascan natural forest has been destroyed since human occupation on the island.
In the wild the Red-bellied lemur has a diet which includes fruit, plant species, flowers, leaves and invertebrates.
Breeding and social dynamics
Red-bellied lemurs usually live in family groups . As with all lemurs it is the female that is dominant, leading the group as they forage for food. As they feed, one of the group will be the lookout for any danger, rather like our meerkats! The female will carry an infant on her tummy and then her back, as it gets older the male takes on parental duties until the infant becomes independent.
The red-bellied lemur is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. They are part of an EEP, European Endangered Species Programme.