Red Ruffed Lemur

(Varecia rubra)




Facts about this animal

The head-body length of an adult ruffed lemur is about 55-60 cm with a tail equally as long. Body-weight ranges from 3.5 to 4.5 kgs. The fur is reddish, thick, soft and fairly long (ruffed) with a white patch on the crown, black face and black tail..


Ruffed lemurs are sociable, living in groups of 2 to 16 animals. They reach sexual maturity at the age of two years. Females give usually birth to twins or triplets, sometimes up to six infants at a time, which they place in a nest. The youngsters stay in the nest for several weeks. Infants don't cling to their mother: When the mother moves them (she changes nest sites regularly), she carries her babies in her mouth. The maximum life span in the wild is 15-20 years.


In the wild, ruffed lemurs spend most of their time in the forest canopy. They show definite preferences for larger trees, from two to four feet in diameter. Logging of the mature trees in a particular forest may lead to the local extinction of the species. Because logging for cooking fuel and building materials, as well as slash-and-burn farming, has reduced Madagascar's forests by as much as 85%, and because they are also hunted for foood, the ruffed lemurs have become endangered.

Did you know?
That red ruffed lemurs breed seasonally at the beginning of the wet season? This is because the young will then be raised during a period when food is plentiful.


Name (Scientific) Varecia rubra
Name (English) Red Ruffed Lemur
Name (French) Vari roux
Name (German) Roter Vari
Name (Spanish) LĂ©mur Rufo Rojo
Local names Malagasy: Varignena
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Paul Takamoto



Range North-east Madagascar
Habitat Evergreen rainforests
Wild population The population is estimated to be between 1,000-10,000 individuals
Zoo population 489 reported to ISIS

In the Zoo

Red Ruffed Lemur


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 31 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Adrian Pingstone

Why do zoos keep this animal

Red ruffed lemurs are very popular with the general public and are thus excellent ambassadors for their cousins in the wild. In particular they help in promoting and raising funds for the Masoala Project (WAZA Project Nr. 05012).