Madagascar Animals and Plants
Which animals live in Madagascar?
Numerous animal species that live in Madagascar are only found there and nowhere else in the world. And again and again new species are discovered that were not even known, such as a tiny chameleon with a size of just three centimeters.
Researchers have found out that most of Madagascar’s animals immigrated to Madagascar around 60 million years ago, probably crossing over on tree trunks. Later no new animal species were added, so that the animal world could develop in isolation from the rest of the world.
The animals from “Madagascar” in Madagascar
But which animal species now live in Madagascar? There are almost no predators on the island. But only almost. Perhaps you still remember the greedy fossa from the cartoon “Madagascar”? The fossa is a species of cat and the largest predator that lives in Madagascar and feeds on smaller mammals.
Also known from the film “Madagascar” are the lemurs, which are widespread in Madagascar and which occur here in many species. The smallest are the 30 gram lemurs and the heaviest is the Indir, which can weigh up to ten kilograms and mostly lives on trees, especially in the northeast.
The ring-tailed lemur, which lives mainly in the southwest of Madagascar and is one of its best-known representatives, is known above all. In contrast to its conspecifics, it moves mainly during the day, while most lemurs are nocturnal animals. By the way, these ring-tailed lemurs really like to dance.
Lemurs only live in Madagascar. Their name is derived from the “Lemures”, in Latin the “spirits of the dead”, whereby the lemurs are fortunately still quite alive. However, many species of lemurs are threatened with extinction. Lemurs are not monkeys, but are primates. Monkeys are only a subordinate of primates, just like humans. The lemurs are among the wet-nosed primates. They have wet noses and therefore a very good sense of smell. In earlier times the lemurs lived all over Madagascar, today they have to limit themselves to the coastal regions. The habitat of these animals is getting smaller and smaller because the rainforest stocks are also decreasing. By the way, there are only about 110 species of mammals in Madagascar and 70 of them are lemurs.
Color change and sticky tongue – what is it?
Madagascar is famous for its chameleons, which are distributed in more than 170 species. 90 species of it live in turn only in Madagascar. Incidentally, chameleons see very well and spot their enemies quite early because they can move their eyes independently of each other.
If a prey animal comes close, they stick out their tongue at lightning speed and the animal, such as an insect, simply gets stuck on the sticky surface of their tongue. And something else is very special about these animals: They can – depending on the environment – change their color to camouflage themselves better.
Lots of fish in Madagascar’s waters
The diversity of fish species in Madagascar’s waters is also great. Fishing is also an important source of income for many people. But Madagascar’s fishing areas are threatened because many foreign fishing boats are overfishing the areas and stocks continue to decline.
There is not enough left for the local fishermen who fish with small boats on the coasts. There are also endemic animal species in the rivers of Madagascar, such as the Madagascar earfish, which only lives in rivers and lakes in Madagascar. For more articles on Madagascar and Africa, please visit mathgeneral.
Which animals are not there in Madagascar?
While many species of monkeys have a home in East Africa, there are no monkeys in Madagascar. By the way, there are no real poisonous species of snakes, they probably never made it to the island. However, there are non-poisonous species of snakes. The boas, which are strangled and can be up to three meters long, should be mentioned here. The dog-head boa is widespread in Madagascar, and its range extends over the whole of Madagascar.
What is growing in Madagascar?
Not only is the diversity of animals in Madagascar great, but also that of plants. There are 12,000 plant species on the island and most of them only grow here. Before the island was settled by humans, it was probably completely covered with forest. There is now rainforest mainly near the coast. Only a very small part of the former holdings still exists. A large part of the country now consists of savannah landscapes.
The most famous plant in Madagascar is the baobab tree. It looks like a tree that is upside down. This tree can store large amounts of water and can therefore also thrive in drier regions.
Large areas of Madagascar are cleared annually in order to gain grazing land for animals. The damage it causes to the country’s ecosystem is great.
Environmental problems in Madagascar
Madagascar has major environmental problems, which are due to the destruction of the forest, but also to the spread of cattle farming and the growth of the population. But especially when it comes to developing tourism as an important branch of the economy, the country is primarily focusing on ecotourism, i.e. a form of tourism that pays attention to sustainability and environmental impacts. In Madagascar, for example, many nature parks have been set up to protect the animal and plant populations of the country.