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Flora and Fauna

The life of elephant birds

Before the arrival of humans, Madagascar was home to animal giants that went extinct by and by with the existence of humans on the island: A giant lemur has lived in Madagascar, besides him a gigantic eagle, an oversized Fossa and of course, one of the largest birds that have ever existed on Earth. Actually, there was not only one …

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The dinosaurs of Mahajanga

In 2003, news of a dinosaur find in Madagascar went around the world: In an archaeological site about 30 km away from Mahajanga (earlier Majunga) in the west of the country, scientists had found the large, almost fully preserved skeleton of a flesh-eating dinosaur. Similar to famous Tyrannosaurus rex, it was a dinosaur which walked on its feet with enormously …

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No fear of tiny spines

Gasteracantha thorelli

Rainforests are their home: Tiny, colorful, spiny creatures in spider webs. These are spiny orb weavers, and they do not really fit into the concept of a scary, quickly moving eightlegged spider. Their unusually shaped belly part does not look scary at all. In contrast to normal spiders, they even move rather slowly and ponderously, you might almost find them …

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Madagascar’s rarest bird of prey

Seeadler Nosy Hara

Mighty dark brown wings, a sharp beak and claws that easily spear through a fish: These are the characteristis of one of the rarest birds of prey in the world. It occurs only – how could it be otherwise – on the eighth continent. We are talking about the Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides), Madagascar’s majestic largest bird of prey. …

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The paradise flycatcher

Paradise flycatcher

Small, but impressive! The Madagascar paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata) is surely one of the most beautiful birds of the island, although it weighs only 12 g – that is the weight of a spoon full of rice. It belongs to the family of Monarchs and is a songbird. You can watch this bird all over the island, in spiny forests …

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The singing lemurs: Indris

Indri

Their songs belong to the most impressive that animal kingdom has: You can hear the Indris’ (Indri indri) voices in the forest kilometers away, and the sound a little sad. The parent couple of a family always starts the songs, thus marking its territory, communicating with other families and warning their own family members of potential hazards such as birds …

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The tomato frog

Tomatenfrosch

In 1875, a bright red, plumpy frog fell into the hands of French naturalist Alfred Grandidier during one of his many expeditions to Madagascar. A compatriot, who had settled as salesman at the eastcoast, was the one who had brought the frog: A certain Mister Guinet. The well-traveled Grandidier took the animal of this still unknown species to France and …

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The smallest reptile on Earth

Brookesia micra

It can sit on a matchstick without a problem, and you could almost think that the slightest breeze will blow the fragile pipsqueak off the match: Brookesia micra, the smallest reptile on Earth. Despite its few millimeters body length, the little, brown leaf chameleon has everything other chameleons need for life, too: Eyes moving to every possible direction, a characteristic …

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The country of Baobabs

Baobab-Allee

What would Madagascar be without its giant landmarks, the mighty baobabs? Over here, they might be known as monkey bread, and have been famous as photo motives and in literatures for centuries. These huge trees, whose roots seems to grow into the sky, enchant everyone, and many baobabs are told to possess magic power. Madagascar has not less than seven …

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Guibé’s mantella

Mantella nigricans

You think poison dart frogs exist only at the Amazon? You are miles out! Madagascar has amphibians very similar to those, the Mantellas or coloured frogs. Like poison dart frogs, Mantella frogs produce a poison secreted via their skin, but it is completely harmless for human beings. Genetically, the Madagascan Mantellas are not related to poison dart frogs. Mantella frogs …

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