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Hidden in plain sight

For a long time, there was only one Common Big-Eyed Snake on Madagascar – or so we all thought. In 2017, researchers from the USA discovered that there is a second species of Common Big-Eyed Snake in Madagascar. For centuries, the species had been hidden, even though it lived so obviously in plain sight. Accordingly, the newly discovered species was …

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The Walking Dead: Madagascar’s Zombies

Ancestor worship, magic, and superstition are omnipresent in Madagascar. Most Madagascans fear and revere the dead at the same time. Many believe that the souls of the deceased still live among them. These spirits of the ancestors, in Malagasy Lolo Vokatra, are able to see, guide, and protect families, friends and acquaintances, and even the entire community. However, unlike classic …

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A dinosaur for your pocket

Dinosaurs and pterosaurs were true giants, that is the general opinion about the lizards of prehistoric times. The largest creature that ever lived on earth was the dinosaur Argentinosaurus. With a body length of 30 metres and weighing an incredible 70 tonnes, it surpassed the famous Tyrannosaurus rex by far. Its largest counterpart in the air was the pterosaur Quetalcoatlus. …

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A frog on dry land: Mantella viridis

In the very north of Madagascar lives a small coloured frog: Mantella viridis. The males grow to a length of two to two and a half centimetres, the females hardly reach more than three centimetres. The small frog with the yellow-green back has several, small populations. On the one hand, Mantella viridis is found in the protected area of the …

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Red Fodys

Everything is a bit more colourful in Madagascar – even the sparrows on the roofs! The best example of this is the Madagascar Fody (Foudia madagascariensis). The Malagasy call him Red Fody, sometimes spelt Fodi or Foudi. Fodys are distributed all over the country. They are considered one of the most common birds in Madagascar. They can be found near …

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The Salary Bay

In the southwest of Madagascar, between the famous baobabs of Andavadoaka and the beaches of Ifaty, lies a small and entirely unknown lagoon far away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. A coral reef protects seven kilometres of white dream beach stretch along the turquoise blue sea. Sounds like paradise? It is! This little paradise belongs to Salary …

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Pachypodium: Madagascar palms

Madagascar Palms Who doesn’t know them, the characteristic, bulbous trees of Madagascar? We are not talking about the world-famous baobabs, but the Madagascar palms. But they are not palms. They actually belong to the dogbane family. Better simply use the botanical name of the genus: Pachypodium. Pachypodium belong to the succulents, plants that are particularly good at storing water. You …

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The kite paradise of Madagascar: Sakalava Bay

An absolute insider tip for kitesurfers is hidden at the northernmost tip of Madagascar: Sakalava Bay. The name comes from the Sakalava people who live here. The beautiful bay is almost 5 km² in size and is protected by an offshore coral reef. The kite season in Sakalava Bay is unusually long. It starts in March and lasts until December. …

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Malagasy donuts with lychee and pistachio ice cream

Mofo menakely miaraka amin’ny gilasy pistachio sy litchi Mofo menakely means “small red bread” – the Malagasy version of the donut. The sweet pastry can be bought everywhere on the street at small booths. It is eaten as a quick breakfast or small snack in between. We enjoy our mofo menakely with lychee and pistachio ice cream. Although lychees originally …

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The Hawksbill Turtle

Once hunted for their tortoiseshell, now threatened with extinction Five species of sea turtles are found around Madagascar’s coasts and islands. One of the best known is probably the hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata. It is most famous for its tortoiseshell, French caret, a term from the French Antilles. It refers to both the animal itself and the valuable tortoiseshell obtained …

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