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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Red Ruffed Lemur: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Red ruffed lemur facts about the wild primate species found along the Antainambalana River.

The red ruffed lemur (varecia rubra), which is native to Madagascar, is easily the largest species of lemurs and belongs to the biological family of Lemuridae. These peculiar mammals are known to be well-groomed and effective pollinating species of animals. The red ruffed lemur is a proper vegetarian, eating only leaves, shoots, and fruits. Today, however, this fascinating member of the Lemuridae family is critically endangered and its population continues to dwindle.

Continue reading to find out more about the species of Varecia Rubra, red-ruffed lemur, that has evolved over a good 60 million years in their native land. After reading these interesting facts about the red-ruffed lemur, do check our other articles on ring-tailed lemur facts and cheetah facts as well.

Red Ruffed Lemur Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red ruffed lemur?

Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) are non-violent, rust-colored animals with long black bushy tails. Since red ruffed lemurs are mostly found on trees, Varecia rubra red ruffed lemurs have a similarity with koala bears in the way red ruffed lemurs hug a tree branch. Wild red ruffed lemur animals are cute, funny and non-violent, who do not prey on other animals.

What class of animal does a red ruffed lemur belong to?

Red ruffed lemurs belong to the class Mammalia; that is, vertebrate organisms that are characterized by the presence of milk-producing mammary glands. They belong to class Mammalia, order primates, family Lemuridae, and genus Varecia.

How many red ruffed lemurs are there in the world?

According to conservationists, there are only 3000-5000 red ruffed lemurs estimated to be left. It is heartbreaking to see how small their world is and how fast it is shrinking every single day. Red ruffed lemurs are one of the critically endangered species since the forests red ruffed lemurs dwell in are slowly diminishing. During the dry season as well as during the spring season, these animals live in large groups.

Where does a red ruffed lemur live?

Madagascar red ruffed lemur’s native land is the island of Madagascar, which is the place it has not only lived but also evolved for an estimated 60 million years. Specifically, in Madagascar Island, the Red ruffed lemur is typically found in the forests of the Masoala Peninsula and the Bay of Antongil. They prefer to live high-up the trees to avoid their natural predators.

What is a red ruffed lemur's habitat?

Madagascar red ruffed lemur, for about 60 million years of its existence, has preferred the moist lowland forests in the tropical country of Madagascar. These forests are generally about 1200 m above the average sea level. Their diet and lifestyle demand that the trees and plants around them bear fruits for them to eat but this also makes the red ruffed lemur susceptible to predators. They prefer to live in a large group of similar red ruffed lemurs.

Who do red ruffed lemurs live with?

Red ruffed lemurs are variably social. It changes with its habitat and seasons. But mostly, red-ruffed lemurs live with up to 16 group members and make sure to protect each member. Lemur species form large groups during the wet season when food is plentiful. The native habitat of white ruffed lemur is in the Masoala National Park of the Masoala peninsula.

How long does a red ruffed lemur live?

The average lifespan of red-ruffed lemurs ranges between 15-20 years. Due to a variety of reasons, the population of these red-ruffed lemurs has reached the conservation status of Critically Endangered. The natural predators of the red ruffed lemur Are large snakes and eagles.

How do they reproduce?

The reproductive cycle in red ruffed lemurs is induced with the onset of the estrus cycle in females when it attains sexual maturity at the age of 20 months. The courtship rituals in red ruffed lemurs are quite submissive and include vocal squeaks. The potential male on selecting his partner for copulation sniffs and licks the genital of the female. Both the partners rub their bodies together and emit a shrieking chorus. Following this, the male mounts the female from the rear for insemination. After a gestation period of about 90-103 days, the female red ruffed lemurs give birth to a litter of as many as 6 offsprings. The breeding season for red-ruffed lemurs generally spans from May to July.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, red-ruffed lemurs have been categorized under the conservation status of Critically Endangered species, owing to their rapidly declining populations. Habitat loss, animal trade, and hunting are the major factors driving these primate mammals towards the threat of extinction.

Red Ruffed Lemur Fun Facts

What do red ruffed lemurs look like?

Red ruffed lemurs give birth to litters of usually two to six offspring during the breeding season.

The red ruffed lemur is easily one of the largest species belonging to the Lemuridae. This species of lemurs do justice to their names owing to the fact that their ruff and the rest of the fur on their body are colored in red or rusty red color. Their extremities, such as their feet, inner legs, and tail along with their underside, are, however, covered in black-colored fur, and in contrast to their red fur, red-ruffed lemurs have a white patch of fur around their necks. Red ruffed lemurs have a long claw on the second toe of their back leg which these wild animals use for brushing their fur.

How cute are they?

On a scale of one to five, the black and white ruffed lemur can easily attain a four for their endearing looks.

How do they communicate?

The red ruffed lemur has been observed to have two distinct modes of communication with its social circle as well as with other species that belong to the biological family of Lemuridae. The distinct communication methods of the black and white ruffed lemur employ vocal calls as well as scent marking. With over 10 different types of calls for different situations and circumstances, the red-ruffed lemur also has been known to communicate with other members of the biological family of Lemuridae, such as the black and white ruffed lemur. The red-ruffed lemur is also accorded the title of being one of the most vocal primates that are not human beings. Red-ruffed lemurs use their vocal calls, which are often also characterized as barking, to alert their tribe or group of danger or to mark their territory against any rival groups. They also use their voices to maintain contact with lemurs in their own group.

How big is a red ruffed lemur?

The average length of a red-ruffed lemur is about 21 in (53.3 cm). The tail of these primates is about 24 in (60.9 cm) long.

How fast can a red ruffed lemur run?

There are no specific details about the speed of the red ruffed lemur. However, these are quite agile and graceful primates, skimming around in their forest habitats.

How much does a red ruffed lemur weigh?

The average weight of red-ruffed lemurs is about 7.5–9.0 lb (3.4-4.08 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names allotted to red ruffed lemurs based on their sex. The males are referred to as male red ruffed lemurs, while the females are known as female red ruffed lemurs.

What would you call a baby red ruffed lemur?

Since no specific name has been allocated to a baby red-ruffed lemur. It can be referred to by any of the generic names used for the young ones of primate mammals, such as infants, offsprings, or juveniles.

What do they eat?

Red ruffed lemurs are herbivorous animals. The diet of these mammals includes figs, fruits, seeds, leaves, nectar, and pollen.

Are they dangerous?

Most non-human primates can be very dangerous and aggressive when approached or provoked by human beings. The black and white ruffed lemurs prefer to have their space and to be left alone rather than approached by human beings.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the red ruffed lemur would not make for a good pet for the simple reason that it is a critically endangered species. Moreover, primates do not ever make for good pets since domestication hampers their intuition and instinctive behavior, which they need in order to survive in the wild and teach their progeny. Add to that the fact that the red ruffed lemur needs plenty of space and greenery to survive and has the potential to be dangerous to human beings.

Did you know...

The common generic name of lemur used in the designation of red-ruffed lemur originates from the word lemures, which according to the ancient Roman belief is a term descriptive to spirits or ghosts.

Is a lemur a monkey?

No, the lemur species is not named or classified as monkeys. Even though both lemurs and monkeys are essentially primates, the lemur belongs to the suborder of prosimians due to their elongated snouts.  The monkey, however, belongs to the suborder of anthropoids.

How does a red ruffed lemur defend itself?

The red-ruffed lemur usually marks its territory through scent and makes use of its various types of calls to its tribe to defend itself against dangers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including wolf facts or gray fox facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Red Ruffed Lemur coloring pages.

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