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Red-ruffed lemur

Varecia rubra

One of the 25 most endangered primates in the world, they are in serious danger of becoming extinct. Found in a very small area of Madagascar, this lemur needs the help of zoos to protect its future.

Interesting fact: The ruffed lemur's thick coat keeps it warm and dry in the rainy season.

Find out more...


Habitat & threats

Primary rain forest in the upper canopy, they prefer high forest and are often observed in the crowns of large fruiting trees. Natural predators are Fossa, Goshawk and two mongoose species. Their most significant threat is man who hunts them for bush meat and causes serious habitat loss. They are reliant on the largest trees in undisturbed forest which are the first choice of loggers. As a result, they are the first to be affected by deforestation with few areas of mature forest left.



Fruit, young shoots and leaves. They are important seed dispersers. Ruffed lemurs pass seeds in their droppings within 2 hours of eating fruit.


Breeding and social dynamics

As with the Black and white ruffed lemurs they live in large family groups ruled by a dominant female. Twins are normally born and infants are “parked” for the first week in a nest. Instead of clinging on like many lemurs, baby ruffed lemurs are carried in their mothers’ mouth. Both males and females care for the young.



Part of a managed European breeding programme.