Common Brown Lemur

Eulemur fulvus


Conservation status

Near threatened (IUCN Red List, 2016)


What they look like

Unique among Eulemurs, common brown males and females share the same coloring—grayish brown with a blackish face and orange-red eyes. The more northern population has large, noticeable light patches above the eyes. Weighing 2-3 kilograms (about 4-6 pounds), they are sometimes confused with mongoose lemurs, which are grayer and show gender differences.


Where they live

In Madagascar, common brown lemurs congregate in a variety of fragmented forests, mostly dry deciduous and moist montane forests in the northwest and rainforests in the central east. One of only two species found in the wild outside Madagascar, common brown lemurs also live on the island of Mayotte in the Comoros—likely introduced there by humans.


What they eat

Common brown lemurs browse on a wide variety of fruit, leaves, buds, and flowers, depending on the season. In the northwest, they eat cicadas and perhaps the occasional bird and eggs.


How they behave

Active during the day (diurnal), common brown lemurs also move and feed at night during the dry season. Sociable animals, they live in groups averaging 3-12 individuals, with none of the female dominance seen in other lemur species.


How they reproduce

In Madagascar, common brown lemurs reach sexual maturity at around 18 months and breed in May and June.  Females give birth, usually to a single infant, about 120 days later.


What threats they face

Natural predators include hawks, boa constrictors, and fossae (the plural for fossa—a large, carnivorous mammal, related to the mongoose with qualities of a cat). Slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting are destroying their habitat.  But common brown lemurs in Madagascar do inhabit four national parks and nine reserves.

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