Madagascar is a massive island off the coast of Africa that is home to some of the most unique animals in the world. Isolated from the mainland for the last 88 million years, the animals in Madagascar have evolved into forms that cannot be seen anywhere else on the planet. The island is the fourth largest in the world and his home to thousands of endemic species, making it one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. This includes exotic plants, of which there are nearly 15,000 found on the island.
Many Madagascar animals are immediately recognizable, like the famous lemurs who live in the trees and hop across the forest floors. There are bizarre mammals covered in spines, peculiar birds who fill the forests with song, and nasty insects that will give you nightmares. All of these are animals you can only find in Madagascar, but their amazing features are so crazy that they have to be shared with the world.
Lemurs are a unique family of prosimian primates that can only be found in the wilds of Madagascar. There are estimated to be at least 99 different species of lemur living on the island, and not all of them have the work "lemur" in their name. Perhaps the most famous species is the ring-tail lemur, a social animal known to live in large family groups. Ring-tails secrete a powerful musk that is used by males to establish dominance. The stinkier the lemur, the more masculine they appear. Unfortunately, deforestation has become a massive threat to the survival of lemurs all over Madagascar.
Possibly one of the most bizarre insects in the world, the giraffe weevil definitely lives up to its name. It has an enormous, articulated neck which is much more prominent in the males of the species. Unlike giraffes, the long neck has nothing to do with reaching food and everything to do with making babies. Males use their long necks to fight each other and prove their worth to the females. After mating, females are known to make a nest by rolling up a leaf into a tube shape. Females only lay a single egg at a time, which is very unusual for an insect.
Definitely one of the oddest primates on Earth, the aye-aye is a lemur relative that is shrouded in mystery and superstition. Some locals believe these animals are a dark omen of bad luck, and unfortunately many aye-ayes are killed because of this. While they are a protected species, they are still at risk of being hunted. Aye-ayes are nocturnal and have large, bulbous eyes that help them see in the dark. They have extra long fingers that they use to scoop out fat grubs from holes in trees, which they make by gnawing at the bark with their teeth.
This bizarre lizard is a satanic leaf-tailed gecko, a species that can only be found in Eastern Madagascar. They are masters of camouflage and sport a broad, flattened tail that looks just like a leaf. This helps them distort their body shape and better blend in when pressed against a tree. Leaf-tails can also change their skin color like a chameleon to better match their environment. The species has been suffering a population loss due to logging and the exotic pet trade, but they are not yet considered an endangered species.