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149

Madagascar

OLogy Series
place
card
149

Madagascar

OLogy Series
place

Compared to the continent of Africa, Madagascar may seem small. But this island, the fourth largest in the world, is bigger than California and Oregon combined. It lies in the Indian Ocean about 250 miles off the southeast coast of Africa. Many of the plants and animals that live on Madagascar are found nowhere else in the world.

What type of animals can be found nowhere else in the world except for Madagascar?

lemurs

chimps

orangutans

Are you right?

Correct!

The lemurs have been swinging around Madagascar for more than 1500 years. Today, many lemur species are extinct due to habitat loss and hunting.

Many of the animals that live on Madagascar arrived on the island by drifting there on logs.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

People aren't the only creatures to sail on boats. Animals can drift from island to island on leaves and tree branches that turn into small rafts. Many animals island-hop this way.

Giraffes and tigers swam to the island of Madagascar millions of years ago.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Some scientists believe that hippos swam from Africa to Madagascar thousands of years before humans arrived on the island. The hippos that lived on Madagascar are extinct.

Madagascar
Capital: Antananarivo
Population: more than 15 million people in 2001
Area: 228,880 square miles
Languages: Malagasy and French
Inhabitants: people, lemurs, chameleons, and a variety of other insects and animals; lush vegetation and beautiful tropical flowers
Characteristics: mountains, tropical rain forests, and coral reefs surround the island

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH.