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Perfectly camouflaged giants: Uroplatus giganteus

Madagascar’s reptiles offer many a superlative. The smallest lizard in the world, the most colorful chameleons, the smallest iguana, the rarest tortoise – all that is missing is a record-breaking gecko. The Giant Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus giganteus) fills exactly this gap. It measures up to 34.5 cm and is thus the second largest gecko in the world. The giants among …

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The Ground Gecko of the South: Paroedura picta

The hot south is the home of a small and very pretty gecko, the Madagascar Ground Gecko (Paroedura picta). It inhabits spiny and dry forests around Toliara (French: Tuléar) down to the bay of St. Augustin. The somewhat wetter valley along the river Onilahy is also populated. Even further south the species occurs as far as Berenty and Amboasary Sud …

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The Common Big-Eyed Snake

In Madagascar, no one needs to be afraid of snakes. One of the most common snakes in the west and south of the island is the Common Big-Eyed Snake (Mimophis mahfalensis). But it is also one of the most harmless snakes that only bites in the worst of times. If you simply watch it, you will discover exciting behaviours. The …

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Cuvier’s Madagascar Swift: Oplurus cuvieri

It actually isn’t really big, but at least clearly the biggest in its family: The big Cuvier’s Madagascar Swift (Oplurus cuvieri) measures a maximum of 38 cm from the nose to the tip of the tail. Alone the scaly tail constitutes good 20 cm of it. Cuvier’s Madagascar Swift belongs to the family of the Madagascar iguana, that there is …

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Pinocchio in the rainforest: Calumma gallus

Calumma gallus

With its long, colorful nose, this chameleon is probably one of the most interesting, albeit smaller, species among the long-tongued reptiles: Calumma gallus. Some call it the Pinocchio or Cyrano chameleon because of its characteristic long nose. But actually there is no “real” English name. The life of a Calumma gallus begins, as with so many reptiles, in the egg. …

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The gentle giants: Parson’s Chameleons

Calumma parsonii yellow lip aus Ranomafana

Two chameleon species have been fighting over the title of Madagascar’s largest chameleon for decades. So far the Parson’s Chameleon (Calumma parsonii parsonii) won, whose officially measured representatives with scarcely 70 cm of total length created few centimeters more than the in Madagascar omnipresent Giant Chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti). Parson’s Chameleons belong to the most impressive reptiles of Madagascar. They live …

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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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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 smallest reptile on Earth

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 Malagasy leaf-nosed snake

Langaha madagascariensis male im Palmarium 2018

A nose that somehow resembles a frayed leaf and can be bent, and an elongated body: these are the most outstanding characteristics of the Langaha madagascariensis, one of many bizarre animals in Madagascar. The purpose of the bizarre nasal process has not yet been clarified. In males, it looks more like a Pinocchio nose than a leaf. The name of …

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