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Mantella ebenaui: Mr. Ebenau’s colorful frog

Looks like a poison dart frog, but it’s not! Like their South American counterparts, frogs of the genus Mantella on Madagascar wear bright colors to draw attention to skin poisons. For humans, however, the small frogs of the island in the Indian Ocean are completely harmless. Ebenau’s colorful frog (Mantella ebenaui) doesn’t match its English name ‘Brown frog’. It wears …

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Successful hunter: Henst’s Goshawk

The Madagascar Goshawk or Henst’s Goshawk (Accipiter henstii) lives up to its name: it lives exclusively on the red island and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It can often be seen circling high in the sky during the dry season. Henst’s Goshawk grows to 52 to 62 centimeters with an impressive wingspan of 86 to 100 centimeters. …

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The little forest spirits – Kalanoro

Morgennebel

Many myths and legends surround the Kalanoro, the small forest spirits of Madagascar. The ethnic groups of the Betsimisaraka, the Sakalava, and the Bara are said to be early humans similar to the legendary Vazimba. The Tanala call them Fahasivy. Kalanoro is particularly small, not even one meter tall. Despite their small size, they are unusually strong. Kalanoro wear their …

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The Lined Day Gecko

There are still many geckos on Madagascar whose species status is not completely clear. One of these species is Phelsuma lineata, the Lined Day Gecko. It is named after the black stripe that runs along the side of its body. Currently, four subspecies of the Lined Day Gecko are known, which are distributed all over Madagascar. They differ not only …

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The 1000 orchids of Madagascar

Cynorkis liliacina

Madagascar, the tropical island in the Indian Ocean, is better known as the land of baobabs. In fact, Madagascar is also a paradise for orchids. Currently, over 1000 different species are described from the island, over 90% of which are endemic, i.e. only found on Madagascar. The name orchid, by the way, has a less than praiseworthy origin. It comes …

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The Malagasy Scops Owl

Owls are mysterious guardians of the night. The Malagasy Scops Owl (Otus rutilus) is a very special bird of the red island: it weighs only a little more than a bar of chocolate and reaches a size of only up to 23 cm. This makes it, as its name suggests, a very small owl. Like all owls, it can move …

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The giant snakes of the red island: Madagascar boas

A bit scary at first sight, but actually always friendly-minded: Madagascar Ground Boas are the largest snakes in Madagascar. Especially large females on Nosy Mangabe reach up to 15 kilograms bodyweight! Nevertheless, Madagascar boas are completely harmless to humans. There are two species of Acrantophis: the Malagasy Ground Boa (Acrantophis madagascariensis) lives in the humid north of the island, while …

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THB – One beer for a whole country

Currently, there are very few types of beer in Madagascar. The most famous and widespread beer is THB. The abbreviation stands for Three Horses Beer. It is a pilsner that has been brewed in Madagascar since 1958. THB can be found even in the smallest villages – and usually chilled. It has 5.4% alcohol and is made from water, barley …

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The Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec

In the southwest and deep south of Madagascar, you can encounter it: The Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec (Echinops telfairi). It lives in dry and spiny forests as well as savannahs, but also occurs in areas populated and destroyed by humans. Larger populations are however above all in forests, that obviously offer bigger protection from food-enemies. The northern distribution limit is the …

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Libertalia, the pirates’ republic

Nosy Mangabe

In the late 17th century Madagascar became the epitome of piracy. The infamous republic of pirates, Libertalia, is said to have existed in the northeast of the island. Everything is said to have started with the pirate James Misson. He is said to have been a Frenchman from Provence. During a stay in Rome, Misson, disgusted by the decadence of …

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