Red-ruffed lemurs are tree-dwellers and live communally. Some groups number around 5–6 adults, and larger communities can contain up to 32 animals. The home ranges of red-ruffed lemurs measure about 60 to 150 acres, organized around the largest fruiting trees in the forest.
Red-ruffs are highly vocal. Groups communicate over wide distances through loud, deep calls, in addition to scent marking. This helps different groups avoid confrontation. Researchers have recorded at least twelve distinct calls to date.
Red-ruffed lemurs mostly dine on fruit, but also eat leaves, nectar, and to a lesser extent, flowers.
Red-ruffed lemur mothers construct nests of twigs, leaves and mosses, and give birth to litters of 1–5 infants. Twins and triplets are common. In the beginning, the babies stay in the nest, or are carried around in their mother’s mouth. Typically, she hides them in one place while foraging. At 20–25 days of age, the infants can move around independently, and they reach adulthood by 20 months. Red-ruffed lemurs can live for about 19 years.
Some of My Neighbors
Aye-aye, Parsons chameleon, Golden serpent eagle, Brookesia chameleon, Mouse lemur, Giraffe beetle
Population Status & Threats
The red-ruffed lemur is classified as endangered, which means that the species faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future. Hunting and habitat loss are the major threats, particularly because red-ruffed lemurs are so dependent on large fruit trees in old-growth forests. Collection for the pet trade also poses a threat.
WCS Conservation Efforts
The Wildlife Conservation Society worked with the Malagasy government to establish the protected areas of Makira and Masoala, where the red-ruffed lemurs live. WCS now co-manages these parks—the largest protected areas in Madagascar. Together, they span 1,606,185 acres, sheltering about 1 percent of the world’s species! Because they are isolated from the rest of the island by rivers and mountains, they contain uncharted areas, undoubtedly harboring natural wonders yet to be discovered. Learn more about WCS work in Madagascar.
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