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Red-ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding


Highly frugivorous (from Vasey 2006 unless otherwise noted)

  • Reliant on ripe fruit
    • Single most important food item in every season (Vasey 2002; Vasey 2004)
    • Foods are patchily distributed in space and time

Other food items (from Vasey 2004)

  • Flowers
    • During pregnancy, females spend less time feeding on flowers than males (Vasey 2002)
  • Leaves
    • Prefer new (young) growth
    • More commonly eaten by females
      • Consumption increases during lactation


Food acquisition (from Pereira et al. 1988)

  • Mouth and hands secure food items
    • Hands pull foods toward the mouth
      • Do not gather fruit or leaves with hands to place into the mouth, in the wild
      • Will hold food items in their hand and take bites, in managed care (M Whipple, personal communication)

Often hang suspended while feeding (Pereira et al. 1988; Vasey 1999)

  • Grasp tree limbs with the hind feet (Pereira et al. 1988)

Chew food between cheek teeth (from Pereira et al. 1988)

Red-ruffed Lemurs Hanging

Red-ruffed lemurs eating

Lemur hanging suspended. ZOOM Erlebniswelt, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Image credit: Mathias Appel at Flickr. Public domain.

Page Citations

Pereira et al. (1988)
Vasey (1999)
Vasey (2002)
Vasey (2004)
Vasey (2006)

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