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Red-fronted brown lemur 54

Red-Fronted Brown Lemur

Sifaka

Sifaka

Lemurs: Madagascar is the sole home to a lesser known primate that resides in the forest called the lemur. Lemurs in relation to other primates have smaller brains and rely more on their sense of smell than eyesight. Which is how they identify their group or troop-mates, lemurs have a tendency to band together and form these group/troops in order to stay safe and defend territory. It’s also been seen that the lemur species is typically matriarchal or led by the older females within the group/troop, when groups have conflicts the lead female is the one who fights. 2 Lemurs can be classified as nocturnal or diurnal with the nocturnal ones typically being smaller in size and more withdrawn. The lemur species consists of three different families of lemur, the Cheirogaleidae Family (Mouse and Dwarf Lemurs), Megaladapidae Family (Weasel or Sportive Lemurs), and Lemuridae Family (True Lemurs), and another family of relatives of the lemur, the Indriiae Family (Indris) that includes sifaka’s as well as the indri. The smallest living lemur is in the Cheirogaleidae Family, the Pygmy Mouse Lemur, which weighs about 25 grams (equivalence of a large egg). On the opposite side of the spectrum, the largest lemur is the indri in the Indriiae Family which weighs about 7 kilograms and looks slightly like a skinny giant panda with its black and white coloring. This creature has a peculiar, howling call that some explain as a mix between a siren and a whale. That call is very different than the mouse lemur’s which is only chirping. The Cheirogaleidae Family so far contains about 12 species, the Megaladapidae Family having 7, the Lemuridae Family, 19, and the Indriiae Family, 12.1

Aye-aye: The aye-aye is a strange animal that is rare in the world now. It has long twig-like middle fingers that are used to find insects and sensitive hearing that allows it to hear insect movement at a 12 foot depth. The animal also has large eyes, rat like teeth, and bat like ears, making it an interesting animal that was once classified as a rodent and is now considered a type of lemur.1

Tenrec

Lowland Streaked Tenrec

Tenrec: Tenrecs are strange creatures that used to inhabit parts of Africa but have now mostly died out and live on Madagascar. Over 30 species of tenrec known currently live in Madagascar. The smaller breeds look like shrews while some of the other kinds look like hedgehogs with spikes. The animals are typically found in the forests like the rain forests on the eastern side of the island but a few have been able to adapt to the arid desert of southwest Madagascar. Most tenrecs have distinctive traits such as body size, poor eyesight and reliance on their sense of hearing and smell, nocturnal habits, and abdominal testes. Tenrecs can be divided into four sub-families: Tenrecinae-Spiny tenrecs, Oryzorictinae-Furred tenrecs, Geogalinae-The large eared tenrec, Potamogalinae-Otter shrews. Scientists are now considering tenrecs a part of a group of evolutionarily connected mammals (Afrotheria).3

Rats and Bats: Madagascar has three kinds of rodents and two types of bats, the rodents being the Giant Jumping Rat which is the largest rodent in Madagascar, the Red Forest Rat, and the Lowland Red Forest Rat. The bats are the Madagascar Flying Fox and Commerson’s Leaf-Nosed Bat.1


1 http://www.wildmadagascar.org

2http://www.globio.org/glossopedia/article.aspx?art_id=49

3http://afrotheria.net/tenrecs/

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