29 Facts About Madagascar Animals That You'll Absolutely Adore! | Kidadl


29 Facts About Madagascar Animals That You'll Absolutely Adore!

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Madagascar is an island, located on the east coast of southern Africa that is rich in wildlife and biodiversity. 

It was initially a French colony. Antananarivo is the capital city, known for its colonial shorthand.

The former French colony now hosts a minority of French people. Unique species are known to be found in this island country, at least 4500 ft (1371.6 m) above sea level, a safe haven for animal kind. Lemurs are the most important animal creatures in Madagascar. Madagascar is located along the Mozambique channel, 400 mi (643 km) off the southeastern coast of Africa. Madagascar is an island nation that is known to have been separated from India and Africa due to some geographical occurrences many millions of years ago. Madagascar has been home to many different flora and fauna species and has a rich biodiversity culture. 

It is really interesting to learn about Madagascar's animals. Madagascar has one of the richest wildlife habitats on earth. The land is open to most of the animal species that are found there. One can find over 50 different colorful species of chameleons in Madagascar. Lemurs make up 75% of the total species population in Madagascar. Madagascar’s location is the reason why this nation has such rich and diversified wildlife. Madagascar has many endemic species.

If you liked our suggestions for facts about Madagascar animals then why not take a look at facts about Madagascar culture, or Madagascar rainforest.

How many animals does Madagascar have? 

Madagascar is widely famous for having the richest wildlife in the world after the Amazon Rainforest. It is interesting to note that the island of Madagascar has around 25,000 wildlife species.

Along with this, Madagascar is also home to a variety of bird species which is known to have around 250 different bird species. Many of these species are unique and are only found in the central highlands of Madagascar and mainland Africa. Some have also become threatened species. One can find a variety of lemurs and chameleons on the island.

However, this wide variety of animals are endemic. The island of Madagascar even serves as a wildlife hotspot. There have been many unique animals found in Madagascar like the tomato frog, sifaka, fossa, indri, giraffe weevil, blue coua, and Madagascar pochard. There are around 46 national parks including the ones in the capital city. It has a variety of animals like parson's chameleon.

Facts About Lemurs 

Lemurs have been the country’s national animal in Madagascar. There are over 70 different species of lemurs found in Madagascar. Madagascar island is the natural home of lemurs.

One of the interesting facts about lemurs found on the island of Madagascar is that these lemurs are known to have a high jump. They can jump 25 ft (7.6 m) in one go. Quite fascinating, right? The Indri lemur is one of the unique lemurs found in Madagascar. However, even though Madagascar has a great variation in the lemur species, the IUCN has still declared that lemurs are becoming an Endangered species in Madagascar. Many species of lemurs are known to be on the verge of extinction.

Lemur species are facing a rapid population decline due to the rate of deforestation that is occurring on the island of Madagascar. Another reason for many lemur species becoming extinct is because of the hunting activity of the Malagasy people in Madagascar’s lemur-rich area. Lemurs have also been traded inside the country as pets which has also helped in lemurs becoming Critically Endangered. Several conservation programs and education programs about these animals of the African continent have been happening in South America.

Another curious question that many people wonder is why lemurs make up the most animal species in Madagascar. What is the reason behind such a huge number of lemur species found in Madagascar? The answer is simple which is direct and relates to the survivability of the animal kind. It is believed that around millions of years ago lemurs floated to this island where there were no predatory threats to the lemur species. The number of lemurs has grown rapidly and soon this island became the home to lemurs. Also, lemurs play an important role in the original forests of Madagascar which helps in maintaining the ecosystem and pollinating plants and trees. 

The evolution of sloth lemurs demonstrates that creatures have a finite number of options to make a living. Because sloth lemurs, like sloths, are large animals that eat leaves, they hang from trees rather than sprinting on top of them. Sloth lemurs do not have to be worried about being attacked as they move from tree to tree and there are no large predators. One sloth lemur species had a body so heavy that it could no longer hang. Sloths performed the same thing a few million years ago. Fossils show that some sloths descended from the trees and grew into 10,000 lb (4536 kg) behemoths.

Madagascar Plants 

Madagascar is not only rich in fauna and wildlife. It is also rich in flora and serves as a great place for some unique plants that are only found in Madagascar.

The traveler’s tree is the national emblem of Madagascar which is otherwise known as Ravenala madagascariensis. There have been many rich species of plants and flowers found in Madagascar that are endemic to the country. Among the rich species, some of the well-known and famous types of species are za baobab, tapia, palm trees like bismarck and tahina, octopus trees, Madagascar famous banana tree, Madagascar periwinkle, and Darwin’s orchid. The most common and famous tree of Madagascar is the baobab tree. The baobab tree is said to be one of the most beautiful trees on earth and is the national tree of the Malagasy tribe. 

Campan's chameleon or Jeweled chameleon Madagascar

Madagascar Biodiversity 

Madagascar is practically the biodiversity hotspot and you can count on western Madagascar and eastern Madagascar for the same. It is no surprise that Madagascar also has one of the greatest ecosystems in the world.

The location of Madagascar plays a major role in making the country so rich in biodiversity. The isolation of Madagascar island has played a major role in making it so rich in biodiversity. If one has to go through the details of the biodiversity in Madagascar then it is estimated that there are 12,000 species of plants, 586 fern species, 389 reptile species, over 1000 orchid species, and around 190 species of palm trees.

Coming to the climatic or environmental conditions in Madagascar, Madagascar has diverse climatic conditions. It is tropical around the coastal regions, temperate around the inland areas, and arid in the southern region. Madagascar has rainforests, dry forests which are tropical, deserts, and high plateaus and central highlands. Madagascar has also been the world’s very first prioritized country for biodiversity conservation. 

According to a new model of ocean currents and prevailing winds that prevailed 50 million years ago, the ancestors of lemurs, fossa, and other Madagascan mammals arrived on natural rafts. A lion, a giraffe, a zebra, and a hippo washing up on Madagascar to start a new life could only happen in movies. Thousands of endemic plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet have evolved in Madagascar during its 90 million years of isolation from the rest of the world.

Its world-famous lemurs, mega-colorful world's chameleons, and more than 300 kinds of frogs are just a few examples. In reality, this tiny island, which spans only 0.4 % of our planet's surface, is home to 5 % of the world's species. Due to the large quantity of carbon they trap, tropical forests like those found in Madagascar are also an essential part of any solution to the climate catastrophe. These forests also provide essential services to all living things on the globe, such as clean water, nutrient-rich soils, food, fiber, disease protection, Madagascar's wildlife habitat, and social and cultural advantages.

Madagascar's human population has a long and diverse history. Despite its proximity to Africa, the first inhabitants of Madagascar only arrived on the island around 2,000 years ago from Austronesie (current Malaisie-Indonesia). Asia, Africa, and Europe have all experienced centuries of migration and cultural change. Madagascar's official language, Malagasy, is the closest to Malaysia's Borneo language. At the same time, the Malagasy language is both fascinating and complex. As fascinating as Madagascar's biodiversity is today, the first humans to set foot on the island discovered an even more incredible world.

It was separated from Africa approximately 180 million years ago as part of what is now India and Antarctica, then separated from India around 88 million years ago to become more or less what we know as Madagascar. Madagascar's seclusion allowed it to follow a completely different evolutionary route throughout almost the entire history of rarest mammals. 

Madagascar was isolated long before monkeys and other Old World primates supplanted Africa's and Asia's more primitive, ancestral primates, implying that Madagascar's primates (today lemurs) are the consequence of a completely unique, endemic adaptive radiation. The same can be said of Madagascar's vegetation, which has been isolated for so long that five complete plant families have never been found anywhere else in the world.

This explains Madagascar's ecology's distinctiveness and high rate of endemism, but the sheer number of species is most likely due to the island's vastness and diverse eco-geography. The island is massive, covering about 231,661.2 sq mi (600,000 sq km). For comparison, the New York Metropolitan Area Combined Statistical Area, which spans four states and is home to 24 million people, is just 13320.5 sq mi (34,500 sq km). That's a substantial amount of area. 

Is deforestation a severe problem in Madagascar?

The island country of Madagascar is losing its endemic species and many are becoming extinct on the island.

This is because of the huge problem of deforestation. Deforestation has led to the home invasions of many Madagascar animal and plant species. Severe deforestation in Madagascar has also led to some other problems like soil erosion and a change in climate meaning there is less rainfall. The reason for massive deforestation in Madagascar is for hunting and rigorous agricultural practices.

Agricultural practices have led to the lowering of the quality of land in Madagascar. The current statistics of deforestation in Madagascar show that every year around 1-2% of the nation's forest is being cut down. This has led to habitat loss and has also affected Madagascar's forest ecosystems. 

What we can do to help?

The current ministry of Madagascar has taken some steps to reduce deforestation by launching some schemes and making some rules and regulations.

The protection of Madagascar needs the urgent attention of people about the harmful effects of deforestation and making the rural Malagasy people aware of the harmful effects of deforestation. This environmental crime must be reduced by making the government implement some rules and regulations that are compulsory around the nation. Make the land free from using animal or tree products. Rosewood trees like other plant life and natural resources are popular here.

Malagasy farmers along with the local people take good care of the area. Sustainability awareness and sustainable growth must be promoted. Increasing the use of forest-friendly products and imposing fines on the destruction of forests. It is time for Madagascar to protect its rich biodiversity and the animals residing in Madagascar. Making the general public aware and placing restrictions on forest destruction, by enforcing strict penalties is a start.

The world is now acting together to protect Madagascar's rich biodiversity and wildlife. Forests and ecosystems not only in Madagascar but anywhere in the world must be protected and preserved. The importance of these living systems to human life must be made known to everyone on this planet.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for facts about Madagascar animals then why not take a look at forest of knives Madagascar, or ring tailed lemur facts.

Kidadl Team
Written By
Kidadl Team

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?