MADAGASCAR MAMMALS for Kids
Tenrecs are unusual insectivores that have radiated into ecological niches filled in other lands by hedgehogs, mice, shrews, opossums, and even otters. While some tenrecs are found in Africa, they are most diverse in Madagascar which has around 30 species.
Madagascar has several species of rodent, the best known of which is the Giant jumping rat, which is roughly equivalent in size to a rabbit. Also like a rabbit, the giant jumping rat has long pointed ears, short fur and large rear feet which are used for jumping. The giant jumping rat can leap almost three feet (one meter) into the air to avoid predators like the fossa and the ground boa.
At least 27 species of bats are found in Madagascar, including giant fruit bats known as flying foxes.
Missing from Madagascar
Madagascar does not have apes, monkeys, elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions, hyenas, rhinos, antelopes, buffalo, camels, cats or dogs that you might expect to find in Africa. Because it is an island, many groups of mammal never made it to Madagascar.
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© Rhett A. Butler / wildmadagascar.org 2008