In the northeastern forests of Madagascar live in the Red Ruffed Lemurs. These incredible animals primarily live in the tree canopy. The eat fruit and nectar, and act as important pollinators to their habitat. Red Ruffled lemurs live in social groups known as troops. Troops can vary in size and have subgroups spread throughout their territory. They can have up to six infants per litter and the troop practices communal care where everyone is involved in raising the young. They reach maturity around two years of age.
Because red ruffed lemurs live in such a small area of Madagascar, they are considered critically endangered. They’re victims of pet and animal trade, habitat loss, and hunting. Their natural predators include hawks, boa constrictors, and fossae. Yet, like any other species, humans are their greatest threat.
Some fun facts about our cute, little lemur friends:
- Red Ruffed Lemurs love to sunbathe. They’ll sit back on their haunches and open their arms to sun to warm their black belly fur. This behavior was misinterpreted by early natives of Madagascar as sun worshiping. This mistaken belief helped protect the species for a time.
- Like other primates, lemurs use their tails for balance when leaping through the trees. They also use their tails to signal and communicate with each other.
- They have well developed smell, vision, and hearing. Red Ruffed Lemurs are able to identify each other by scent glands found on their rumps.
- Red Ruffed Lemurs have very loud calls that can be heard for miles around. These calls alert of threats and warn other lemurs not to encroach on their territories. At my zoo, you can hear our lemurs from the complete far side of our African section.
- Best way to tell Red Ruffed Lemurs apart is by using the white patches on their feet.
- The lemurs at my zoo love grapes, bananas, and sweet potatoes. While on exhibit, they like to sit in the sun and receive armpit scratches.