Red Ruffed Lemur

Varecia (Lemur) rubra

Red ruffed lemurs are designed for leaping.

Some of the largest lemurs, red ruffed lemurs have the typical lemur appearance, with their hind legs longer than front. With opposable great toes and those extra-long hind legs, they are designed for leaping. Typically, the red ruffed lemur will cling vertically, look over its shoulder, and leap. While in the air, it will pivot and swing the hind legs forward in-flight, landing hind-feet first. Then, it will pull in and grasp with the front feet.

They also tend to hang by those long legs while eating, grasping the tree limb with their hind feet. Red ruffed lemurs enjoy being in the trees and hardly come to the ground.

Red ruffed lemurs love to talk.

Like us, red ruffed lemurs have their own way of communicating with each other. From gathering everyone together to warning others of a potential intruder, they have at least six distinctive calls. There are roars, barks, squeaks, and purrs, each with its own meaning. The roar of the red ruffed lemurs can be heard all over Fresno Chaffee Zoo—it sounds like a fight, but they’re simply saying, “We’re all here!”

Red ruffed lemurs are important pollinators.

Red ruffed lemurs are frugivores, so they consume lots of fruit and nectar, as well as leaves, flowers, and seeds. Red ruffed lemurs love figs, which is usually their favorite fruit to have. Since red ruffed lemurs eat such large quantities of nectar, particularly during the flowering season, they are actually important pollinators. The pollen sticks to their long, furry snouts and they carry it from plant to plant. In fact, they are the primary pollinator of the Traveler’s Palm, a tree native to their home in Madagascar.


Animal Facts

  • Lifespan They live approximately 19 years in the wild and 25 years under human care.
  • Habitat They live in the eastern rainforests of Madagascar.
  • Diet Red ruffed lemurs are frugivores, so they eat fruit, leaves, nectar, flowers, and seeds. At the Zoo, they eat fruit, monkey biscuits, and browse.
  • Size Red ruffed lemurs are 19 inches tall with a 23-inch tail. They weigh about 8 pounds.
  • Location in Zoo Across from Safari Café
  • Conservation Status The red ruffed lemur is listed as critically endangered.

Did You Know?

Red ruffed lemurs have up to a dozen different alarm calls that can specify danger and predators approaching.