Zarude is a simian Pokémon resembling a baboon or mandrill. Its body is primarily covered in coarse black fur, though its chest and belly are patterned with shorter gray fur. Its upper snout, palms, and rings around its eyes are devoid of fur, and its skin is a light gray. The fur around the side of its head angles into wing-like crests on either side of its eyes. The eyes themselves have red sclerae, green irises, and black, slitted pupils. Its teeth are pointed and its canines are visible when its mouth is closed.
Zarude can extend prehensile vines from its wrists, neck, and the soles of its feet at will. It uses these strong and flexible vines to attack, swing from trees, and collect food from a distance. Zarude’s vines can also rapidly heal wounds when wrapped around them, and absorb energy from trees. While resting, only the tips of the vines at Zarude's neck and feet extend beyond its skin. However, the vines extending from Zarude's wrists are typically wrapped around its forearms in four concentric rings. Occasionally, Zarude's vines tear off and become nutrients for the soil of the forests it lives in.
Zarude are social and live in packs. They're usually incredibly aggressive, and frighten most other Pokémon. They attack anyone that aren't part of their pack; they excel in battle with their sharp claws and quick wit. However, Zarude occasionally exhibit a softer side. A Zarude named 'Dada', wearing a pink ripped cape bearing Celebi's National Pokédex number, split from its pack to raise and nurture an orphaned human infant. It's said that this Zarude derived a unique strength from its bond with the adopted human child.
Zarude is the only known Pokémon capable of using the move Jungle Healing.
Zarude appears to be based off a black lemur, having traits similar to it such as the toothcomb, elongated snout, claws (instead of fingernails), and non-prehensile tail. Male black lemurs sport a stark black coloration, with some individuals having slight grey accents on the face. The orange belly on shiny Zarude could be a reference to the fact that female black lemurs have orange features.
Its Dark type may be a reference to the aggressive nature of black lemurs, or to the nature of other aggressive primates such as mandrills and baboons. The use of vines to swing through trees is also reminiscent of how spider monkeys use their prehensile tails.
Zarude may also be based on the Shug Monkey in English folklore and the "Carew Ape" that's said to haunt Carew Castle in Wales.
Zarude may be a combination of 猿 saru (monkey) and rude.