Madagascar animals are proof that Madagascar is the real Treasure Island. Zoologists have said that Madagascar has undergone five colonizations by different types of terrestrial mammals; these “colonists” were so satisfied with their choice that they stayed on Madagascar for good!
Over time, the animals living on the island evolved and their DNA changed into new species. Animals (scientific term, “fauna”) of Madagascar became so vivid and various, that most of them are unfortunately on the verge of extinction.
See our top 10 coolest and cutest Madagascar animals below. How many will you spot during your Madagascar holiday??
10. Peyrieras’ pygmy chameleon (“Brookesia peyrierasi”)
This fragile animal reaches a maximum length of 30mm. They live on the leaves that litter the deciduous forests and rainforests. They are one of the smallest reptile in the world and eat only insects. They hide from their predators by quickly changing colour to avoid being a tasty snack. When they feel threatened, they play dead till predators leave!
9. Malagasy leaf-nosed snake
This unusual snake uses its odd nose to attract wood lizards. When they the lizard comes close enough, they become a victim of a crafty predator. Along with being a useful hunting tool, the snake’s nose is thought to attract partners in courtship while mating. Some scientists also believe that this tool helps snakes to leave their egg shell.
8. Chameleon “Furcifer Timoni”
You must have been heard many times about Madagascar’s popular chameleons! Meet this colorful chameleon, first found in 2009 in the tropical forests of Madagascar. This amazing finding is normally green in color, with its body covered with blue spots and its head covered with both red and blue spots. During your trip to Madagascar, remember that this animal is very rare and it’s a treat to spot!
7. Stripped tenrec (“Hemicentetes semispinosus nigriceps”)
This whimsical creature looks like a hedgehog with barbed and non-barbed quills. The sharp needle-like quills on his head are for defense from fosses and mongooses. Tenrecs lift up the quills, aiming predators’ noses and paws. They easily pop up and cause injury to foes. What bizarre weapons nature creates!
6. Malagasy giant rat (“Votsotsa”)
You can meet this charming animal on the west coast of Madagascar. Because of it’s unusual elongated limbs, this creature is often called hopping rat. However, in spite of this nickname, these rats rarely jump, only when they need to escape from predators. The “Votsotsa” is able to make a giant leap as far as 1 meter.
5. Large Indian civet
Like all civets, the African palm civet is similar to martens and cats. Her color varies from brown to brownish-gray and her tail is covered with dark rings. The tail is long and extremely tenacious because civet lives mostly on trees. Like many tree climbers, the African palm civet uses its paws with the help of its tail to get high above the earth. However, this animal sometimes can be tamed and if tames, behaves like the usual domesticated cat.
4. Grey mouse lemur (“Microcebus Murinus”)
This type of lemur is the smallest. It grows from 5 grams to 2.8 kilograms, which means they are conveniently pet-sized! They have a highly secretive lifestyle as they are often difficult to spot. They have big eyes and unusually graceful limbs with short fingers. Due to their appearance, lifestyle and diet- consisting mainly of insects- these animals seem similar to the African Galango and sometimes converge with them.
The most significant predators in Madagascar’s fauna can look unusual: at first glance, like a mix between puma and tiny civet. It is sometimes known as the ‘Madagascar lion’, as its ancestors were much larger than they are now. Like the classic lion, the sound they make is similar to the familiar aggressive feline purr. These animals live mostly on the ground, but can climb trees to hunt their favorite lemurs. The fossa kills its prey by biting the neck, while tenaciously holding it with front paws. Fun fact: they are the featured villain in the original Madagascar Movie.
2. Dancing lemur (“Sifaka”)
In the dry deciduous forests on the south-west of Madagascar lives the lemur which “dances” like a ballet performer. Locals call him the “Verreaux Sifaka”. This is the most popular type of lemur primate groups on the southeast coast of Africa. Despite the fact that this special type is endangered, dancing lemurs can be still seen in some national parks. They attract a lot of tourists with their lovely look and move.
1. Satanic leaf-tailed gecko
The coolest animal in Madagascar: to believe this leaf-tailed gecko actually exists, you’ll have to spot it yourself. This animal is a master of disguise. Every gecko uses its own special way to blend in with environment: some of them can be mistaken for leaves, some for a tree bark. Their coloration and light reflecting body make them almost invisible. There are 10 sorts of leaf-tailed geckos; all of them live in Madagascar and surrounding islands.
Agree or disagree with this list? Have other animals to add? We welcome you to comment at the bottom!