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Flora and Fauna

Madagascar’s giant hognose snake

Leioheterodon madagascariensis auf Nosy Mangabe

The Madagascar giant hognose snake (Leioheterodon madagascariensis) probably belongs to Madagascar’s most common snakes. You can meet them almost everywhere on the island: Rainforests of the east coast are part of its home range as well as the hot and dry west oft Madagascar. They can even deal with widely devastated forests. Gardens, campgrounds and hut villages may also be …

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Madagascar’s bee-eaters

Bienenfresser

Bee-eaters (Merops superciliosus) are among the most colourful birds in Madagascar. Here and there it is called olive bee-eater. Including its tail this small bird measures up to 30 cm in length, and it is not even 50 g heavy. It is not easy to differentiate males and females by colour: Both wear a splendid green plumage with a beige-reddish …

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Madagascar’s famous ring-tailed lemurs

Katta Portrait

They are the unofficial mascots of Madagascar and probably the most famous Malagasy lemurs: The ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Their portraits grace the logo of Madagascar National Parks (MNP), countless t-shirts, and company emblems. A full-grown ring-tailed lemur weighs maximally 3.5 kg. The ringed tail is 60 cm longer than the whole body which is only 40-45 cm. In contrast …

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Spider with lasso: Deinopis madagascariensis

Madagascar is home to many strange creatures. A particularly obscure one is the Malagasy Net-casting Spider (Deinopis madagascariensis). As the name suggests, one characteristic of this spider is special: the way it catches its food. The Net-Casting Spider lets itself be suspended from a leaf or branch by a thread. Then it stretches a kind of lasso made of spinning …

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The water tank of the South

Cyphostemma montagnacii

Madagascar’s south put forth many quirky, mostly water saving plants. An especially strange and unique plant is Cyphostemma montagnacii. The shape of this plant seems to be not of this world: A small, gnarly stem merges into long vines. Indeed this strange plant belongs to the grapevine family. Its branches need a tree which they can climb up and which …

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Strong together: The Sakalava weaver

Sakalavaweber

The small, only 25 g weighing Sakalava weaver (Ploceus sakalava) only occur in Madagascar. As the name indicates, they belong to the weaver birds and are widely distributed around the island: Everywhere where the eponymous tribe of the Sakalava lives. This is mainly western Madagascar; from the deep, hot and dry South to the North. Sakalava weaver prefer dry areas. …

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The real treasures of Madagascar

Astrochelys yniphora

An arched, golden shell, relatively long legs and alert, black, shining eyes: That is how the most precious tortoise on Earth looks like. It comes from Madagascar and is named ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) due to the large bony appendage on its breast shell. It serves males to turn over contrahents or females during mating season. And this is quite …

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The fruit gourmets: Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs

Varecia variegata

Many people know them from zoos and animal parks: Black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata). Besides Red Ruffed Lemurs and the Indri, they belong to the largest lemurs with a head-torso length of 40 to 60 cm, an additional 60 cm added for the tail. Weights of 3 to 4 kg are the average. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs exclusively live in the …

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Small but a kingfisher

Corythornis madagascariensis

Kingfishers inhabit many parts of the world. But Madagascar has, additional to the usual kingfisher with its blue blaze of color, another extraordinary variant: The Madagascar pygmy-kingfisher (Corythornis madagascariensis). It bears its name rightly: The pygmy-kingfisher is only 13 cm in size and weighs only 20 grams. A real lightweight! This species also differs from its “big brother” in color: …

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The sky blue reed frog

Heterixalus madagascariensis

An especially pretty frog is the blue reed frog (Heterixalus madagascariensis) or Madagascar reed frog: There are yellow and sky blue variations, with yellow or orange arms, legs, hands and feet. In the sun, they often become almost white. Literature mentioned the sky blue frog for the first time in 1841: The French zoologist André Duméril and his assistant, Gabriel …

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