Detailed Information on Ruffed
(Blk. & White Ruffed Lemur), rubra (Red Ruffed Lemur)
Subspecies: variegata (Blk. & White Ruffed Lemur),
rubra (Red Ruffed Lemur)
two separate subspecies of the Ruffed lemur. The Black & White
Ruffed lemur and the Red Ruffed lemur. As with all of the 32 living
species of lemur; the Ruffed lemurs are found exclusively on the
island of Madagascar. The Black & White Ruffed lemurs can
be found in the Eastern rain forests of the island while the Red
Ruffed lemurs are isolated in the remote forests of the Masoala
Peninsula in the northeastern part of the country.
are considered the largest of the living quadrupedal lemurs. Adults
weigh between 7 and 12 pounds. Anatomically, these two subspecies
are almost identical to each other. Their incredibly striking
thick coats are the feature which best sets them apart. The average
head to body length is 55 cm, with a total length of 110-125 cm.
live out a social lifestyle. Groups of up to 17 animals (Blk.
& Wht. Ruffed lemurs), 2 to 8 animals (Red Ruffed lemurs)
have been observed foraging together in the wild. As with most
lemur societies, female Ruffed lemurs are dominant to males. This
female dominance in primates is unique to the suborder prosimians.
As a result, females form the core of these groups and aggressively
defend its territory. By being dominant, the females get to choose
whom they will mate with and are granted first access to food.
Mating season in Madagascar usually begins in May and continues
threw July. On average, females give birth to twins in September
and October. Up to six infants have been recorded in a litter
with an average gestation period of 90-102 days. Female Ruffed
lemurs posses six mammary glands and can successfully nurse all
six infants at the same time. Unlike the majority of other lemur
species; Ruffed lemur babies are left in nests created by the
mother prior to birth rather then being carried. Latter, at about
1 to 3 weeks of age, the mother will transport the babies by mouth
(one at a time) and stash them in temporary "Parking Spots"
while she forages for food.
are extremely vocal animals! With out notice they will burst out
in a voracious roaring vocalization. This vocalization can be
heard for a distance over a mile or more. Groups of individual
animals will start and stop this vocalization at the same time
as if reading each other's minds. These loud roars are exhibited
for multiple reasons. The first and foremost reason is an Alarm
Distress call. This communication is slightly altered for a predator
by ground vs. a predator by air. Ruffed lemurs will also use this
roar as a Contact Location call. Broadcasting their location over
vast distances to other lemurs or members of their own group.
Please be sure to listen to the pre-recorded Ruffed lemur vocalization
found on the camera page of this site.
Purely strict vegetarians, Ruffed lemurs consume a wide range
of fruits, vegetables, leaves, flowers, seeds, nectars and grasses.
Ruffed lemurs eat the most fruits of all lemur species. Captive
Ruffed lemurs can live up to 30 years or more with the norm being
18 to 22. The life expectancy of wild lemurs is less, estimated
between 7 and 20 years. Captive animals receive a consistent nutritional
diet that is guaranteed to be provided on a daily basis. In addition,
captive animals have access to routine veterinary care, and do
not fall prey to predation.
including the Ruffed lemur, are endangered. Unfortunately, Madagascar
is an extremely poor country in natural resources. The biggest
threat to these wonderful creatures is habitat destruction by
man. The majority of all plant and wildlife found on this remarkable
island is found nowhere on earth other then Madagascar. To make
matters worse, the indigenous people of this island practice a
farming technique called "Slash and Burn" deforestation.
What this means, is that the farmers will actually burn old growth
rainforest (the lemurs home) down in order to clear land for their
crops. The soil on this land is so nutritionally poor that it
can only sustain crops for a season or two before the process
is repeated. In addition, without the roots of the shrubs and
trees to hold the soil in place, the rain-washes it out to sea.
If viewed from outer space, you can see a dark red ring of mud
traveling over a mile out to sea all around the island. With the
rate at which this rainforest is converted to farmland, the Ruffed
lemur populations are dwindling rapidly. To make matters worse,
the Ruffed lemur is often hunted by man for food. This disturbing
fact is only recently becoming less practiced due to educational
efforts with-in Madagascar.
The Sanctuary currently houses both Black and White Ruffed lemurs
and Red Ruffed lemurs. Both species can be viewed in their large
landscaped enclosures on camera. Please be sure to visit!
P.S. Now you realize the importance of protecting the lemur's
natural environment by saving its land! By protecting and increasing
the size of nature preserves and sanctuaries one not only protects
the lemur, but all of the other unique plants and animals of the
For more information on Lemurs, go to Duke
University. The most comprehensive primate website!