An Island Like No Other
The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar has long been isolated from the continents and has species found nowhere else in the world. It has several types of habitat, including tropical rain forest and spiny dry forest.
The dry, spiny forest of southern Madagascar is considered one of the 200 most important ecological regions in the world. Within these forests are also the island's limestone pinnacle formations known locally as tsingy rocks with their sharp, furrowed surfaces.
Eastern Madagascar is home to some of the richest rain forests on Earth. Well over half of Madagascar's species are found in these warm, rich, and lush forests.
inches of rain per year in the southern spiny forest
species of animals native to the Madagascar rain forest
species of flowering plants are found only on Madagascar
Might as Well Jump
These lemurs have awesome moves! They can jump from tree to tree, across expanses of nearly 40 feet, and their strong back legs allow them to spring up and out from a sitting position. On the ground, they hold their arms out and hop, a move called the “sifaka dance."
Soak Up the Sun
In Malagasy culture, sifakas are often viewed as “sacred sun worshippers.” In the morning, they bask in the sun before heading out to forage for food. Once on the move, they may travel up to a mile, munching along the way, before they stop for the night.
Heed the Call
Life in the trees protects sifaka groups from predators. They use loud, piercing alarm calls to warn of danger: all members of a group may simultaneously produce the explosive, nasal, hiss-like call "shi-fakh, shi-fakh, shi-fakh," which is what gives these lemurs their name.
How’s My Hair?
Sifaka, like many other lemurs, have modified lower incisors specialized for grooming. Tall, slender, and evenly spaced, these teeth help to comb and clean the hair. Individuals are commonly seen licking and combing one another’s hair.
Ring-tailed lemurs are easily recognized with their long nose, big eyes, woolly fur, and long, black-and-white-ringed tail. They are mostly active during the day, and unlike other lemurs, they spend more time on the ground than in trees.
A doglike face, claws and teeth like a cat, and related to mongooses—the fossa may be weird, but it reigns on the African island of Madagascar. Skilled predators, fossas hunt lemurs, wild pigs, reptiles, rodents, and birds. They’re loners that move so swiftly and silently, one minute they’re there, the next they’re gone.