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Red-ruffed Lemur

Scientific Name: Varecia rubra


The ruffed lemur, a medium-sized primate, weighs 6 to 7 pounds. These prosimians (not true monkeys) have long, silky fur that is black and white in two subspecies and red and black in the third. Lemurs are highly developed for life in the trees. Their long tails act as counterbalances while they move through the trees. Lemurs have a variety of calls, the most characteristic being an intense roar of alarm and a powerful, plaintive call for territorial expression.


Lemurs are only found on the island of Madagascar, off the southeast coast of Africa. Ruffed lemurs inhabit the wet, evergreen forests of the eastern coast of the island.

Status in the Wild

All lemurs, including the ruffed, are classified as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Logging and habitat destruction are the main threats to the continued survival of much of Madagascar’s native wildlife. Riverbanks Zoo maintains one subspecies of ruffed lemur, located on Lemur Island. Lemurs have been exhibited here since 1982.