Range: Extreme north-eastern Madagascar with approximately half of the population within Masoala National Park.
Habitat: Deciduous rainforest with large mature trees.
Distinguishing characteristics: One of the largest lemurs, with females averaging 7 lbs. and males up to 9 lbs. Thick furred, rust colored body. White cap on crown of head. Black tail, snout, belly and feet. Like other lemurs, they possess a specialized ‘tooth comb’ on the lower jaw for grooming.
Diet in Zoo: Spinach, grapes, sweet potato, primate biscuits.
Diet in Wild: Mainly fruit, especially figs. Some shoots and leaves, nectar.
Longevity: Average 15 years in the wild, up to 33 recorded in captivity.
Reproduction: Reproduce at 3 years of age with a 102 day gestation period. Most breeding occurs from May-July. Females construct a nest of leaves, vines and fur. Litters may contain as many as six individuals.
Behavior/Adaptations: Red-ruffed lemurs travel in matriarchal groups of 3-16 individuals – though they may become more solitary during extreme dry seasons when there is little food available. Generally most active in morning and evening. Though comfortable in trees, these lemurs spend much of their time searching for food on the ground. They have a dozen distinctive calls, with the loudest of these audible from miles away. Scent marking is an important aspect in communication.
Predators: Mainly raptors and large snakes, occasionally the fossa.
Status: Endangered (IUCN, 2012) - mainly due to habitat loss from logging and mining. Over-collection for the pet trade was an issue in the past. Captive population directed by a Species Survival Plan with several zoos working together in cooperation for breeding, care and population management.