Madagascar's wildlife is mainly endemic, which means they can be found nowhere else on earth. The island's geographic seclusion has resulted in a unique biodiversity. As one of the world's few remaining unspoiled natural areas, Madagascar is a wildlife hotspot. It is home to around 25,000 species of wildlife. Some of these fantastic species live in Madagascar's nature reserves. Madagascar is a must for animal lovers.
1. Lemurs - Lemur means "forest ghost." There are currently 113 lemur species. Indri Indri lemurs can grow up to 3 ft long and weigh up to 20 lbs, but most lemur species like mouse lemurs are much smaller. Lemurs have collared eyes, opposable thumbs, and clawless hands. Lemurs are endemic to Madagascar and can glide down on their bellies. Their thick long tail helps them balance when jumping between trees. These animals live in Madagascar's woods, eating leaves and fruit and sleeping 15-18 hours a day. They communicate via scent marking and vocalization.
Where to find them: Lemurs can be found on the entire island of Madagascar. The Ranomafana or Andringitra national parks to see them in their natural habitat. In captivity, Antananarivo's Lemurs Park.
2. Indris - The name "indri" comes from the Malagasy word "tsindris," which means "king of the forest. Indri is Madagascar's largest native lemur, weighing up to 20 pounds. The Madagascan indri is 3-4 ft (90-120 cm) tall with a lengthy tail and body covered with coarse grayish fur with silvery gray hair on the head, back, and ears. Indri species are easily identifiable by their distinctive sounds. The indri, like many other lemur species, has evolved to live in trees. The lemur rests or forages for fruit, leaves, flowers, buds, and bark in the trees. Unlike other lemurs, the indri prefers to be alone.
Where to find them: Indris are easily seen in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Marimizaha forest in Marojejy National Park, but also less likely in Perinet Park.
3. Sifakas - The family of lemur species called sifakas is among the most primitive of all primates. The coat color of its three big species may easily differentiate them. This species has a brown coat, while the white-and-brown Sifakas are distinguished by their golden manes and platinum white coats, while Coquerel's Sifaka is sometimes red or orange. Weighing an average of 11 lbs (5 kg), They are 1-2 ft tall on average, although (40-55 cm). Arboreal (lives in trees) diurnal (active during the day) In some cases, they can jump up to 30 feet between trees. Foraging across the island's deciduous woodlands, they utilize this dynamic mobility. Sifakas eat flowers, foliage, and fruits.
Where to find them: Ankarafantsika Nature Reserve and the Bora Special Reserve
4. Ring-tailed Lemurs - The ring-tailed lemur is Madagascar's national animal. Their fur is soft reddish-brown, lighter on the belly. The head features a black face, white cheeks, a tail with black rings (hence the name), and dark brown eyes. It can grow to 2-3 ft ( 60-105 cm ) in length, 18-30 inches ( 47-76 cm ) in height, and weighs up to 22 lb ( 10 kg ). They live up to 22 years, which is unusual for a primate. Most of their time is spent in the trees to hunt and cover but wander out onto the forest floor at night. Fruits, shoots, flowers, bark, and bird eggs are the lemur's food. They live in battalions of 3 to 12 members, each with their territory.
Where to find them: Ranomafana National Park and Berenty Reserve.
5. Fossa - Reddish-brown with longitudinal stripes ranging from pale yellow to dark brown and a paler underside, the Fossa is 3–4 ft (91–150 cm) long, with a 2–3 ft (50–60 cm) tail. Fossa, the Madagascar mongoose, is a carnivore known for its hunting skills. It hunts birds and rodents using its keen hearing. It can hop from branch to branch softly and quickly. The Fossa is a nocturnal creature that hunts alone.
Where to find them: Fossa can be found all across Madagascar's forested regions, although only in the Andringitra Massif in Central Highlands.
6. Aye-aye - Madagascar's largest nocturnal primate. It was considered sacred by the Malagasy people, and killing one would bring bad luck. The largest known lemur species, the aye-aye derives its name from the unique appearance of its long, bony middle finger, which is used to tap on hard-to-reach branches to locate insect prey. The aye-aye's coat is typically gray to brown, with a lighter lower face and white fur on its throat and chest. It has small eyes, large ears, and a very thin tail. The average height is about 30-40 cm (12-16 in), with a thick, long tail and weighing 4-6 lbs (2kg-2.7kg). These Malagasy natives are arboreal and mainly nocturnal.
Where to find them: On the Bay of Antongil, the Farankaraina Forest Reserve and Aye-Aye Island, Mananara.
7. Chameleon - The Madagascar chameleon (Furcifer) is the island's largest terrestrial reptile. Chameleons are Chamaeleonidae giant lizards. The colors of Madagascar chameleons include greyish-green, brown with orange stripes, and grayish-brown with yellow lines. Translucent eyelids shield the chameleon from direct sunlight. Its four-toed feet and prehensile tail spine allow it to grip branches. The typical chameleon is 24–38 cm (9–15 inches) long, but the new nano-chameleon is barely 13.5mm. Diurnal during the rainy season, a terrestrial creature hunts in low and mid-level trees and bushes.
Where to find them: These chameleons are found throughout Madagascar.
8. Tomato Frogs - Grow to about 2½-4 inches (6-10 cm). Tomato frogs are carnivores. Their diet consists of insects, larvae, and worms. Tomato frogs like to live in groups, and they breed in freshwater pools. They prefer slow-moving, almost stagnant water and ponds that provide shelter and food. The skin of a tomato frog is bright red which helps it to blend in with its surroundings. The skin also secretes a poison-like substance when the frog is stressed or threatened. The skin color also warns other animals not to eat this frog.
Where to find them: located in the forests, ponds, marshes, canals, and other warm, humid areas throughout Madagascar.
9. Blue Coua - Also known as the Madagascar coucal or Madagascar cuckoo, is a striking bird with a short crest, a very long tail, and a long bill. It has a bluish-grey plumage, mottled black on its head, nape, and breast with darker patches under the wings. The female is slightly smaller than the male. The blue coua lives in forested areas, perched on branches near the top of trees, where they feed on lizards, spiders, insects, and seeds.
Where to find them: located in humid forests within the humid southeastern coast of Madagascar, around the Mahavavy River, Bevofo, and Anosy mountain ranges.
10. Lowland Streaked Tenrec - also known as the Madagascar hedgehog tenrec or the striped tenrec, belonging to the family Tenrecidae. It is endemic to the southeastern/eastern coastal region of Madagascar. It has a highly distinct pattern of vertical dark brown stripes on its light brown body. The lowland streaked tenrec lives below the forest floor, eating whatever it can find there, including earthworms, ants, termites, and small insects. It is a solitary animal that congregates with others only to mate.
Where to find them: located in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar.