I am sorry to disappoint you, but you won't find penguins on this list. I know that's a bit tough to accept, but don't worry, Madagascar is full of fantastic and interesting animals. It is home to some of the weirdest creatures you can imagine, but also many cute and beautiful as well. This island has been isolated for millions of years so its flora and fauna are pretty one of a kind. All of the animals on this list are endemic to Madagascar and can't be found anywhere else in the world.
We couldn't really start the tour of Madagascar fauna with any other animal now, could we? This funny-looking animal was made famous worldwide by King Julian in the animated movie Madagascar so it is probably the most recognizable animal from this African island. These lemurs live in medium sized groups led by a single female. Males fight for their mating rights by smearing scents from their forearm glands to their tails.
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This peculiar chameleon species is named panther after their rather aggressive behavior, especially during the mating season when males display color change while inflating their bodies, but this rarely ends up in a real fight. Change of color can have different meanings and often the color itself represents the mood of panther chameleon. Green represents relaxed and peaceful state, brighter colors readiness to mate and if you see them turn yellow don't come close since that color represents anger. They are often kept as pets because of this beautiful color patterns.
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It is not hard to guess how this weird looking insect got his name since it has a giraffe-like neck as a main physical characteristic. Males have much longer necks since they use them for fighting during the mating season. The females usually watch these fights like some sort of a referee and then decide who the winner is. They also build their nest on specific leafs found in Madagascar rainforests while the male protects the eggs from parasites and predators.
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This is the largest type of lemur in the world, but that is not the only difference that sets it apart from other lemurs. Indri also has a very short tail, almost like a stump, in contrast to other lemurs that have long and beautiful tails. They have very strong and long legs that help them jump from one tree to another. Indris mate for life and live in small groups.
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Satanic leaf tailed gecko
This gecko is the smallest of its bizarre looking species. It is a nocturnal animal with amazing camouflage skills that keep him safe from the predators. Its name might sound scary and it might even look like a satanic creature, but this small gecko can't really hurt you in any way.
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Madagascar pochard is known to be the world's rarest duck. It was even believed that they were extinct until a small group of 22 was found living on Lake Matsaborimena. Since then their numbers have increased four times thanks to the breeding programs where ducklings were raised in captivity and then released back into the wild, but it is necessary to find them a new home because there seem to be insufficient food sources for them at their current home.
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One of the largest moths in the world, comet moth is known for its beautiful and strange wing patterns and bright yellow coloring. It is a nocturnal insect which makes it a most beautiful sight on a pleasant Madagascar night. These moths can't keep the temperature on their own, so they vibrate with their wings and bodies to warm up so they can fly. Cometh moths live just five or six days and do not feed at all, but rather use supplies they gathered as a caterpillar.
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Fossa might seem like a cute and cuddly mix between a cat and a mongoose, but don't let that tame appearance fool you since fossa is indeed the greatest predator in Madagascar. They have a pretty long tail and extremely muscular body, which helps them be very agile climbers and fantastic jumpers. They use the element of surprise when attacking so they are indeed ambush predators. They also hunt both during the day and night.
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Madagascar leaf-nosed snakes
These bizarre-looking snakes can grow to 1 meter (40 inches) in length and have really weird nasal appendages whose function is still unknown, apart from possible camouflage role. Even more interesting is that these snakes have different noses depending on sex so males have longer and pointer ones while females have flattened, leaf-like appendages.
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Sifaka lemurs have been given their name by their alarm sound that they make when in danger, which sounds like “shih-fak“. These hilarious lemurs are actually great climbers and their strong and powerful hind legs allow them to make a 9 meter (30 feet) jumps. They are very territorial and mark their ground with their scent glands.
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Tomato frogs are facing endangerment due to habitat loss and extensive hunting since they are very popular pet animals. Unlike most frogs, tomato frogs are poor swimmers and can even drown , but that doesn't stop them from living close to the water. They are nocturnal carnivores and can even eat a small mouse if they are big enough.
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These strange-looking nocturnal primates are a very specific and unique part of lemur family. They are the only primates that use echolocation to hunt. They do so by tapping on trees with their long middle fingers and then listen to any movement that might indicate the presence of insect larvae. The same finger serves them for digging the insects out of the tree. They are often killed by locals because they consider them scary and bad luck because of this weird behavior as well as bizarre appearance and that is one of the many reasons they are listed as endangered.
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