Do you love animals? I do, and I’ve always been amazed by the outrageous collection of animals living in Madagascar. So many of the animals here can’t be found anywhere else in the world so if you’re like me and enjoy seeing highly unique, exotic species, a trip to Madagascar should definitely be on your bucket list.
Madagascar is home to 120 known species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 400 species of reptiles and 400 species of amphibians. Then approximately 70%-80% of these are endemic and can’t be seen anywhere else. Just imagine! It’s a cornucopia of exotic animal delights!
Let’s consider some of these unbelievable animals only seen here:
When people think of Madagascar, they often think first of lemurs. Lemurs are a very diverse group of primates found only here. Lemurs come in a range of shapes and sizes from the tiny mouse lemur to the larger indri lemurs. Additional famous lemurs include the ring-tailed lemurs, sifakas, and the aye-ayes who look like they’ve just been startled.
FOSSA The fossa is a carnivorous mammal that resembles a cross between a cat and a mongoose yet it’s actually closer to the mongoose family. The fossa is the apex predator on Madagascar and plays a critical role in the ecosystem.
One of the most colorful chameleons in the world, the panther chameleon changes its skin color to match its sometimes vividly colored surroundings.
The tomato frog is a bright red-orange amphibian known to inflate themselves like a large tomato when threatened.
Is it a leaf? No, it's a leaf-tailed gecko that looks just like a leaf. Unbelievable! These geckos have flat bodies and textured edges that make them blend right into a pile of leaves.
Madagascar has many unusual insects including this long necked fellow who uses his extended neck to fight for mates and to roll leaves into tubes for his wife’s egg-laying.
Tenrecs are small mammals that resemble hedgehogs, otters or shrews. They blend easily into their surroundings and play an important part when it comes to pollination and seed dispersal.
The ploughshare tortoise is a critically endangered species and one of the rarest tortoises in the world. It faces severe threats from habitat loss and illegal collection for the pet trade. It is highly valued and sought after due to its unique appearance.
I know it’s not an animal but I have to mention it:
THE BAOBAB TREE
When exploring the uniqueness of Madagascar, one can’t forget the somewhat whimsical and mysterious baobab tree. Baobab trees are instantly recognizable and have large trunks that often exceed 33 feet or 10 meters wide! The trunk is thick and bottle-shaped tapering towards the sky and the branches resemble roots. Baobab trees live for centuries and some are over 1000 years old!
I hope this exploration of Madagascar’s natural world has intrigued you. If it has, I recommend exploring this Madagascar Wildlife Adventure program offered by one of our most eco-passionate operators. Traveling with this operator assures that your trip is protecting the wildlife and habitat plus the local community rather than diminishing the home of these wonderful animals and people.
Ready to see the tomato frog or the panther chameleon for yourself? Contact us and we’ll help you visit this most astonishing wildlife paradise.