The island of Madagascar is home to almost 25,000 different species of animal and boasts some of the most unique wildlife in the world.
This African island is a habitat for some species that can’t be found anywhere else and is truly a fascinating place.
This guide will outline some of the most notable species that live in Madagascar, so read on to find out more about some of the most incredible animals on the planet.
Mammals In Madagascar
Found in the forests of Madagascar, the fossa is a close relative of the mongoose and the island’s largest mammal.
They grow to be about 6 feet in length from tail to knows and can weigh up to 26 pounds, similar to the size of a small dog. However, their body is slender and is more cat-like in appearance.
Most of the fossa’s diet consists of lemurs and they can reach their prey by using their long tail for balance while moving through trees.
The ring-tailed lemur is instantly recognizable by its long black and white striped tail. They are surprisingly sociable creatures and are known to interact with humans that they come across.
Mostly found in the south of Madagascar, they are strong in population and incredibly unique.
Aye-ayes are nocturnal primates that spend the majority of their time high in the Malagasy trees. They hang comfortably on branches using their large toes and long tails while using echolocation (see also: Animals That Use Echolocation)to find insects to eat.
A unique feature they have for reaching their food is their unusually long middle finger, which they use to get into insect burrows and nests. They also have sensitive ears and eyes to help them locate food and aid echolocation.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
Lowland streaked tenrecs can be found in the lowland tropical rainforest in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar.
They have a long, pointed snout and a vestigial tail, and their pelage is black with yellow stripes.
They also have scattered quills across their body to protect them from predators that may have marked them as food. They are active both during the day and the night, feeding primarily on insects that find using their long snout.
Reptiles And Amphibians In Madagascar
This sub-species of chameleon is native to Madagascar and is one of the world’s most vibrant in color and variation.
Panther chameleons are larger than other types of chameleons and are sought after by traders and keepers.
They have a bony extension on the rear of their head called the casque, and like all chameleons, can change their color to camouflage themselves from predators.
They hunt and trap their prey using a long tongue covered in sticky mucus that propels out of their mouth to catch insects.
Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
The Satanic lead-tailed gecko is, like the chameleon, a master of disguise. Their body can blend in with surrounding dead leaves, mimicking their habitat so they cannot be seen by predators.
The incredible texture and pattern of their skins look exactly like a dead leaf, even their tail, helping them go unnoticed.
Malagasy Ground Boa
An endemic species to Madagascar, the Malagasy ground boa is the longest snake on the island, with adult females measuring up to 10 feet in length.
They have diamond-patterned skin on their back, and vary in color, from gray to red-brown. These snakes live in the sparse woodlands of Madagascar, making homes in debris and fallen trees.
They hunt by way of constricting their prey, squeezing them until they suffocate so they can then swallow them whole.
Insects In Madagascar
The comet moth, also known as the Madagascan moon moth, is a vibrant and beautiful moth that can only be found on the island.
They are among the largest moths in the world, with a wingspan that extends almost 8 inches. They are bright yellow in color and they have a long tail. Like the majority of moths, they are nocturnal insects.
These huge cockroaches are oval-shaped and have shiny, brown bodies, with the males having horns to use in offensive situations.
When threatened, they emit a hissing noise by exhaling air, which is how they got their name. This is highly uncommon for an insect, as most make noise by rubbing parts of their body together or vibrating their membranes.
The hissing cockroach can live between two and five years and can grow to be up to 3 inches long.
The male giraffe weevil is recognizable by its long “neck”.
Another species that is native to Madagascar, and can only be found on the island, giraffe weevils are odd-looking creatures that are black all over except for their red wings.
The long neck can only be found on males, which has evolved to aid them in fighting and nest building for their mates to lay eggs. They can be found in the eastern rainforests of the African island.
Flatid Leaf Bug
Flatid leaf bugs are bizarre insects that are found in Madagascar’s western forests, usually under rocks or on trees.
The adults are flat and pink, resembling flower petals, while the young flatid leaf bugs grow a white, wispy substance that protects them from predators.
Madagascar is bursting with incredible and unusual creatures, both large and small. The island is truly run by its wildlife and has spawned some amazing species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
It sparks curiosity in any animal enthusiast, but for those who don’t plan on making the trip any time soon, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about some of the most interesting species the island is home to.