Madagascar has a unique biodiversity. There are amazing animals you can see in Madagascar. Its animals are mostly endemic, i.e, found nowhere else on the earth. The secret is hidden in its biogeographical history.
135 million years ago, Madagascar was in the middle of the supercontinent Gondwana. Through movements of the Earth’s crust, Madagascar, along with India, first split from Africa and South America and then from Australia and Antarctica, and started heading north. Later India collided into Asia, forming the Himalayas in the process, but Madagascar broke away from India and was moved in the Indian Ocean. Madagascar has been on its own for the past 88 million years. The plants and animals evolved on the island in isolation from the rest of the world. So, most of the animals in Madagascar are found nowhere else in the world. Let us check out 15 rare and unique species of animals you can see in Madagascar.
Aye-aye lives in the rainforests of Madagascar. It feeds on insect larvae that it finds by tapping on tree bark. It has an appearance of the ears of a bat, the teeth of a rat and huge eyes. Today the aye-aye is highly threatened by rainforest destruction and hunting. In some areas, local people believe the aye-aye brings bad luck and will kill the animal whenever they encounter it.
Indri is the largest living lemur . They are black and white in color and famous for creating the sound like a humpback whale. The Indri feeds on fruit and leaves in the rainforests of eastern Madagascar. Today the Indri is endangered due to habitat loss.
Flying foxes are the unique type of bats with front body part similar to a fox.
The Fossa is a carnivore animal. They look like the mixture of a puma and a dog. They hunt almost any animal including insects, reptiles, rodents and lemurs. They can easily climb a tree.
There are 30 species of Tenrec in Madagascar. They are insectivores. They are also found in Central Africa.
Brookesia chameleon is one of the smallest reptiles in the world. They are smaller than an inch. Brookesia feeds on small insects. They change color to evade predators. When disturbed, these chameleons will play dead in an effort to look like a fallen leaf.
They have a tail that resembles a leaf. Inactive during the day, Leaf-tailed geckos (also known as Uroplatus geckos) only move when disturbed. At night they hunt insects.
This snake is unique in appearance. It has a spear shaped nose. Madagascar is home to more than 80 species of snakes
The Tomato frog (Dyscophus antongili) has a skin color of a tomato. When a predator grabs a tomato frog in its mouth, the frog’s skin secretes a thick substance that blocks predator’s eyes and mouth, causing the predator to release the frog to free up its eyes.
Comet moth is native to the rainforest of Madagascar. It has a wingspan of twenty centimeters and a tail span of fifteen centimeters, making it one of the world’s largest silk moths.
Panther chameleons change color according to their mood. They have very peculiar vibrant color.
They are world’s rarest ducks. They were once considered as extinct, but 22 individuals were found on Lake Matsaborimena.
Sifakas are large lemurs found throughout Madagascar. They feed on leaves, fruit, and flowers. Sifakas are sometimes known as “dancing lemurs” for their unique style of movement.
14Darwin’s Bark Spider
The spider was discovered in Madagascar in the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in 2009. Its silk is the toughest biological material ever studied, over ten times tougher than a similarly-sized piece of Kevlar.
Giraffe weevil is a strange looking insect endemic to the forests of Madagascar. The giraffe weevil got its name because of its enormously long neck. The giraffe weevil is completely harmless. They show no aggression towards human or other species.