Mention Madagascar to travel-hungry adventurers and it conjures up images of an exotic and remote landscape, home to some of the rarest creatures on the planet.
More than 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Here’s a look at some of the rare animals you might see on the island.
Probably the most famous inhabitants are its 33 species of lemurs. All are endemic to the island, with scientists continuing to discover new species.
Some of the most well-known include:
- Ring-tailed lemur – living in the southern and western dry forests of the island, these highly sociable creatures live in groups of up to 30 largely female dominated communities.
- Sifakas – the ‘dancing’ lemurs found mainly in the dry forests of the West and South. They get their nickname from their dance-like movement, as they walk on hind legs while moving their arms about.
- Dwarf lemur – small nocturnal lemurs found throughout Madagascar.
- Aye-Aye – another nocturnal lemur that lives in the rainforests but is threatened by extinction due to deforestation and hunting.
- Indri – living in the rainforests of the East coast, the Indri is the largest living lemur in the world. It has a distinct black and white coat, and an eerie sounding call.
A large cat-like predator, there are very few of these creatures still in existence in Madagascar. The Fossa’s stealth and secretive habits make it difficult to track. But natural scientists believe its facing extinction due to the destruction of its habitat, and hunting by humans as it ventures into populated areas looking for food.
Of the 258 bird species found on Madagascar, some 115 are endemic. They can be found in parks and forests around the island, and include:
- Madagascar Lovebird
- Red tailed Vanga
- Collared Night Jar
- Marsh Owl
- Sparrowhawk of Madagascar
- Madagascar Wood Rail
- Rufous headed Ground Roller
Over half of the world’s species of chameleons are found on Madagascar, including the recently discovered Furcifer Timoni.
Some of the smallest chameleons on the island are the Brookesia, measuring just over an inch. These tiny creatures live in the forest undergrowth across the island.
With more than 300 species of frogs on Madagascar, an amazing 99% are endemic to the island. Frogs are the only amphibians found here, there are many beautiful species including:
- Mantella – who use their bright colours to scare off predators
- Tomato Frog – brightly coloured frog that releases a sticky secretion to protect against larger predators
- Mantidactylus – hides from predators using its heavily camouflaged skin.
The seas around Madagascar are brimming with fish. The area offers superb diving sites for all levels. Check out our article on the top 5 diving sites off Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina.
Where to stay?
If you’re looking for a place to escape from it all, Tsarabanjina is a by-word for laid-back luxury. Get the low-down on this beautiful island lodge – Spotlight on Lodge Tsarabanjina,Madagascar.
Send us your wildlife photos
And if you’ve already travelled to Madagascar, we’d love to see your wildlife photos. You can post them to the Constance Facebook page.