Ruffed Lemurs - Black and White Ruffed - Red Lemur
 
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Detailed Information on Ruffed Lemurs:
(Blk. & White Ruffed Lemur), rubra (Red Ruffed Lemur)

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Ruffed Lemurs

Order: Primates
Suborder: Prosimian
Family: Lemuridae
Genus: Varecia
Species: variegata
Subspecies: variegata (Blk. & White Ruffed Lemur), rubra (Red Ruffed Lemur)

There are 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.

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Red Ruffed Lemur Web Cams

Red Ruffed Lemur

Ruffed lemurs 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.

Both subspecies 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.

Ruffed lemurs 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.

Map of Madagascar

All lemurs, 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 region.


For more information on Lemurs, go to Duke University. The most comprehensive primate website!
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