Reptiles / Anjajavy by night

Furcifer oustelati (chameleon)


Reptiles

Jewel-coloured geckos, stealthy chameleons and beautiful boas

 

Anjajavy harbours a wonderful diversity of lizards: the tropical climate and almost constant sunshine creates the perfect environment for dozens of reptile species. Every other tree seems to house a gold-flecked gecko or a goggle-eyed chameleon!

 

The entertaining antics of Madagascar Collared Iguanas will keep you amused on a lazy day at the Lodge as they sunbathe, squabble and chase each other around the boardwalks.

Will your favourite be the Giant Day Geckos, with their shiny black eyes and dazzling green bodies splashed with red? Or perhaps you will prefer the more delicate Gold-dust Day Gecko that looks like it just stepped out of a rainbow?

 

Do snakes tickle your fancy? In Madagascar you can observe snakes without trepidation as all species are totally harmless to humans. Serpent-lovers should keep their eyes peeled for Madagascar Ground Boas (the island’s largest snake), Cat-eyed Snakes, Leaf-nosed Snakes, Giant Hog-nosed Snakes and many more. Most are active by night, but you may be lucky to find a Ground Boa snoozing in the daytime.

 

 

Furcifer pardalis

(panther chameleon)

 

Oplurus cyclurus

(Merrem’s Madagascar swift)

 

 

Anjajavy by Night

The adventures don’t have to end when the sun goes down!
Take a night walk around the Oasis Garden and Reserve and you will discover a whole new cast of intriguing creatures.

 

Nocturnal Lemurs

While the Reserve’s show-stoppers are undoubtedly the charismatic Coquerel’s Sifakas, the hours of darkness also have their star performers. Weighing a mere 63 grams, Danfoss Mouse Lemurs scamper about in the shrubbery around the Reserve just after nightfall, springing from branch to branch, quick as a flash, in search of food.

If you hear a strange squeal coming from the tree tops, then you have probably found a Grewcock’s Sportive Lemur, though you might have already seen one of these snoozing in a tree hole during the day.

 

If you visit during the summer months (October – March), you might see the large, shiny eyes of a Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur staring back at you on a forest night walk. Unlike the hyperactive mouse lemurs, this species is larger and slow-moving with wide-spaced, black rimmed eyes. They are also the only primates known to hibernate!

You might be lucky to spot some other furry creatures along the way, such as the endemic Tsingy Tuft-tailed Rat, Commerson’s Leaf-nosed Bat, or Madagascar’s largest predator - the rare and elusive Fosa.

 

Gorgeous Boas

One of the highlights of a trip to Anjajavy is an encounter with a huge and beautifully patterned Madagascar Ground Boa. Until recently the reserve was home to Big George, the heaviest snake ever recorded on the island weighing in at 8.2 kg! Don’t be alarmed! These boas, like all of Madagascar’s snakes, are completely harmless to humans and actually help control pests. To learn more about Big George and his dramatic demise, click here.

 

 

Sleeping Lizards

Chameleons are masters of stealth and camouflage, making them extremely difficult to find during the daytime as they hide within the lush foliage. Fortunately, they are much easier to spot at nightbecause they like to sleep at the tips of branches where they are safe from predators. So with a good torch and a little luck, you should be able to find Angel’s Chameleon – a species unique to Northwest Madagascar. However, the real challenge is the tiny Plated Leaf Chameleon, which is just 3 inches long and at first glance looks like a dead leaf! Will you be the first to spot one?

 

There are many other cold-blooded animals that come out at night, from Fish-scaled Geckos whose loose scales slip off when attacked by predators, to Striped Reed Frogs and Dumeril’s Bright-eyed Frogs that call loudly to attract mates, and Cat-eyed Snakes that lie in wait for an unsuspecting frog to pass within striking range…

 

Night Birds

Although most birds are active during the day, there are a few specialties that prefer to feed under the cloak of darkness. Madagascar Scops Owls hoot from low branches and Madagascar Nightjars flutter at dusk catching insects on the wing. However, most of birds you will see at night will be fluffed up and fast asleep, including Souimanga Sunbirds, Madagascar Paradise Flycatchers and Magpie Robins.