Ruffed Lemurs


Our ruffed lemurs belong to the lemur genus and live in the treetops of the moist evergreen rainforests on the east coast of Madagascar. There are both red lemurs (Varecia rubra) as well as black and white lemurs (Varecia variegata). Ruffed lemurs spend a particularly lengthy amount of time in the treetops compared to other types and prefer to feast on fruit and and enjoy lengthy sun exposure.



Rainforests in the northeast and east coast of Madagascar

Fruit, leaves, seeds, nectar

No accurate information about their status available

Approx. 50 cm body length + 60 cm tail length

2.5 to 4 kg

Brooding/gestation time:
3–4 months

Achievable age
20 to 30 years in human care

What you should know about the ruffed lemur

The long, soft fur of the ruffed lemur varies in different colours and patterns. While the body fur of the red lemur blazes red-orange, the hair of the black and white lemur is mostly black with white spots on its head, back and limbs. Their bushy black tail can reach up to 65 cm long and is therefore longer than the body itself.


At home in Madagascar

The red lemurs only live in the Masoala Peninsula in northeastern Madagascar in the wild, which is covered by dense rainforest. The black and white lemur have their habitat to the west of this, in the rainforests of Madagascar's east coast. Above all, the Madagascan wet-nosed primates prefer to live at the top of the forest canopy.


The higher the better

The jovial connoisseurs spend most of their time eating, roaming and taking out extensive periods of rest among the treetops. Their life in the trees is perfectly adapted to their feeding behaviour since they mainly feed on fruits. The ruffed lemurs often cut a rather ponderous figure while on the ground, yet they really do prove themselves to be true climbing and jumping champions on the trees.


The females have the final say among the group

If ruffed lemurs feel threatened, then they defend themselves and their territory with an almost deafening, barking call. It is mostly the physically superior females that defend the territory. The young animals basically remain in the mother group at first, but as soon as the young females become sexually mature, they are aggressively expelled by the mother.


Is it true, that ...?

... Do female ruffed lemurs have three teat pairs compared to just the one, such as the other lemurs have? Absolutely correct: a pair can be found in the chest region and another two in the stomach area. This quirk of nature allows them multiple births of up to five pups. And something else distinguishes them from other lemurs: Ruffed lemur mothers transport their offspring in their mouths, while other lemur babies cling onto their mother's stomach and switch to their back later on.

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