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Greater dwarf lemur, Ivoloina park, Madagascar Opening the last location of our 2019 trip: Ivoloina park, where we spent one night and one morning only. We arrived late and went for a quick stroll to the nocturnal animals in captivity. Ivoloina has a program to ultimately reintroduce these animals in the wild. This Greater dwarf lemur was sleeping inside a hollow trunk, which is something they also do in the wild.<br />
<br />
In the wild, this animal has a fair amount of natural predators:<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/37257/adult_ring-tailed_mongoose_feeding_-_full_body_shot_amber_mountain_madagascar.html" title="Adult Ring-tailed Mongoose feeding - full body shot, Amber Mountain, Madagascar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/37257_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1596672010&Signature=9GYjHmLpMqdiBrwKW%2BSR4SojMJA%3D" width="200" height="152" alt="Adult Ring-tailed Mongoose feeding - full body shot, Amber Mountain, Madagascar Sub species Galidia elegans dambrensis (Northern Ring-tailed Mongoose). Feeding on what likely is a tenrec. The young is right next to it, on the same log:<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/37254/ring-tailed_mongoose_youngster_amber_mountain_madagascar.html<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/37258/ring-tailed_mongoose_parent_and_young_feeding_amber_mountain_madagascar.html Africa,Amber Mountain,Galidia elegans,Geotagged,Madagascar,Madagascar North,Ring-tailed mongoose,Spring,World" /></a></figure><br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83035/fossa_portrait_-_3_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html" title="Fossa portrait - 3, Kirindy Reserve, Madagascar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/83035_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1596672010&Signature=ZWHKyulE9q1luv3EJFn0AoXMMwk%3D" width="200" height="200" alt="Fossa portrait - 3, Kirindy Reserve, Madagascar Before we were about to start a morning hike in Kirindy, Henriette spotted this Fossa near our lodge. I went into pursuit and was close to losing it when the Fossa bumped into other tourists, forcing it back in my direction. Note that at Kirindy, the Fossa is common to see as it is somewhat domesticated. In the wild you are unlikely to ever see one. They are widespread throughout Madagascar, yet typically local populations are small.<br />
<br />
The Fossa is Madagascar&#039;s top mammalian predator. It has an interesting taxonomy. Despite its cat-like appearance, it is believed to be more closely related to the mongoose family:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/wildlife/browse/animalia/chordata/mammalia/carnivora/eupleridae<br />
<br />
It&#039;s an iconic species typical of Madagascar, there isn&#039;t a comparable species anywhere else. <br />
<br />
The most impressive fact about the Fossa is that over 50% of their diet consists of lemurs. Surprising a lemur in the canopy, who have keen senses and are always on watch, takes an extraordinary skill. For this purpose, the Fossa has flexible ankles, which allow it to climb up and down, as well as jump between trees. Although rare, there have been reports of multiple Fossas cooperating in a hunt, evidence here:<br />
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpwM-K2TRR4<br />
Well, some may consider another fact even more impressive: the male of the Fossa at times can be considered a five-legged animal as it has an unusually large penis that may reach up to its front legs when erect. Not only is it huge, it&#039;s also spiny. The female has equally strange genitalia, it grows an enlarged, penis-like clitoris that is also spiny. This clitoris reduces in size as she ages, it is believed that during the female&#039;s first years, this masculization helps her against harassment by young males. The Fossa is the only known species in the world where this process occurs without hormones being involved.<br />
<br />
Despite being the top predator of Madagascar, one does not have to be terrified when seeing one. It&#039;s best described as an oversized, very muscular cat. Surely it can do significant damage when provoked, but it&#039;s unlikely to be a life threatening encounter. Fossas typically will not grow beyond about 10kg of weight. <br />
<br />
Now extinct, there once was a second species of Fossa: Cryptoprocta spelea, or Giant Fossa. It was almost identicial yet twice as large or heavy. The extra size likely was needed to hunt the Giant lemurs of Madagascar, which have also gone exctinct. Check out this illustration:<br />
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Simon_Bearder/publication/262067793/figure/fig3/AS:669429562081292@1536615853540/Some-subfossil-lemur-species-with-extant-Indri-one-of-the-two-largest-living-lemurs.png<br />
<br />
The Indri (in black) is the only species in the illustration still extant, and currently the largest species of lemur. <br />
<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83032/fossa_portrait_-_1_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83033/fossa_portrait_-_2_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83034/fossa_full_body_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83036/fossa_sunbathing_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83037/fossa_sunbathing_-_closeup_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv9VOY2H61Y Africa,Cryptoprocta ferox,Fossa,Geotagged,Kirindy Reserve,Madagascar,Madagascar 2019,Winter,World" /></a></figure><br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/18559/up_close_and_personal.html" title="Up close and personal!"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/1602/18559_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1596672010&Signature=iFP2GEE%2FuGFaAxiU4JlZdRvMPFs%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="Up close and personal!  Boa manditra,Geotagged,Madagascar,Madagascar tree boa" /></a></figure><br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/9624/madagascar_buzzard_in_ranomafana.html" title="Madagascar Buzzard in Ranomafana"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/9624_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1596672010&Signature=7ieasbwL%2BHzewXON1yNenNAA8fA%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="Madagascar Buzzard in Ranomafana At the end of an exhausting 8 hour steep and wet walk in Ranomafana we were rewarded with this Madagascar Buzzard, who sat still for several minutes on this tree.  Buteo brachypterus,Madagascar,Madagascar Buzzard,Ranomafana National Park" /></a></figure><br />
Madagascar does not have a lot of big predators yet it seems most are interested. Africa,Cheirogaleus major,Greater dwarf lemur,Ivoloina park,Madagascar,Madagascar 2019,World Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

Greater dwarf lemur, Ivoloina park, Madagascar

Opening the last location of our 2019 trip: Ivoloina park, where we spent one night and one morning only. We arrived late and went for a quick stroll to the nocturnal animals in captivity. Ivoloina has a program to ultimately reintroduce these animals in the wild. This Greater dwarf lemur was sleeping inside a hollow trunk, which is something they also do in the wild.

In the wild, this animal has a fair amount of natural predators:

Adult Ring-tailed Mongoose feeding - full body shot, Amber Mountain, Madagascar Sub species Galidia elegans dambrensis (Northern Ring-tailed Mongoose). Feeding on what likely is a tenrec. The young is right next to it, on the same log:<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/37254/ring-tailed_mongoose_youngster_amber_mountain_madagascar.html<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/37258/ring-tailed_mongoose_parent_and_young_feeding_amber_mountain_madagascar.html Africa,Amber Mountain,Galidia elegans,Geotagged,Madagascar,Madagascar North,Ring-tailed mongoose,Spring,World

Fossa portrait - 3, Kirindy Reserve, Madagascar Before we were about to start a morning hike in Kirindy, Henriette spotted this Fossa near our lodge. I went into pursuit and was close to losing it when the Fossa bumped into other tourists, forcing it back in my direction. Note that at Kirindy, the Fossa is common to see as it is somewhat domesticated. In the wild you are unlikely to ever see one. They are widespread throughout Madagascar, yet typically local populations are small.<br />
<br />
The Fossa is Madagascar's top mammalian predator. It has an interesting taxonomy. Despite its cat-like appearance, it is believed to be more closely related to the mongoose family:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/wildlife/browse/animalia/chordata/mammalia/carnivora/eupleridae<br />
<br />
It's an iconic species typical of Madagascar, there isn't a comparable species anywhere else. <br />
<br />
The most impressive fact about the Fossa is that over 50% of their diet consists of lemurs. Surprising a lemur in the canopy, who have keen senses and are always on watch, takes an extraordinary skill. For this purpose, the Fossa has flexible ankles, which allow it to climb up and down, as well as jump between trees. Although rare, there have been reports of multiple Fossas cooperating in a hunt, evidence here:<br />
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpwM-K2TRR4<br />
Well, some may consider another fact even more impressive: the male of the Fossa at times can be considered a five-legged animal as it has an unusually large penis that may reach up to its front legs when erect. Not only is it huge, it's also spiny. The female has equally strange genitalia, it grows an enlarged, penis-like clitoris that is also spiny. This clitoris reduces in size as she ages, it is believed that during the female's first years, this masculization helps her against harassment by young males. The Fossa is the only known species in the world where this process occurs without hormones being involved.<br />
<br />
Despite being the top predator of Madagascar, one does not have to be terrified when seeing one. It's best described as an oversized, very muscular cat. Surely it can do significant damage when provoked, but it's unlikely to be a life threatening encounter. Fossas typically will not grow beyond about 10kg of weight. <br />
<br />
Now extinct, there once was a second species of Fossa: Cryptoprocta spelea, or Giant Fossa. It was almost identicial yet twice as large or heavy. The extra size likely was needed to hunt the Giant lemurs of Madagascar, which have also gone exctinct. Check out this illustration:<br />
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Simon_Bearder/publication/262067793/figure/fig3/AS:669429562081292@1536615853540/Some-subfossil-lemur-species-with-extant-Indri-one-of-the-two-largest-living-lemurs.png<br />
<br />
The Indri (in black) is the only species in the illustration still extant, and currently the largest species of lemur. <br />
<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83032/fossa_portrait_-_1_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83033/fossa_portrait_-_2_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83034/fossa_full_body_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83036/fossa_sunbathing_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/83037/fossa_sunbathing_-_closeup_kirindy_reserve_madagascar.html<br />
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv9VOY2H61Y Africa,Cryptoprocta ferox,Fossa,Geotagged,Kirindy Reserve,Madagascar,Madagascar 2019,Winter,World

Up close and personal!  Boa manditra,Geotagged,Madagascar,Madagascar tree boa

Madagascar Buzzard in Ranomafana At the end of an exhausting 8 hour steep and wet walk in Ranomafana we were rewarded with this Madagascar Buzzard, who sat still for several minutes on this tree.  Buteo brachypterus,Madagascar,Madagascar Buzzard,Ranomafana National Park

Madagascar does not have a lot of big predators yet it seems most are interested.

    comments (12)

  1. Ohhhhh! My heart may have just exploded from this creature's cuteness. Posted 5 months ago
    1. The big eyes, right :) Posted 5 months ago
      1. YES! The gorgeous, wide eyes combined with the awesome photography! Posted 5 months ago
  2. Love the Fossa! Posted 5 months ago
    1. It loves me too:

      You're next This is one of those scenes to remember. In my excitement to photograph a spectacular showing of this fossa trying to master some chicken legs on a chord, I found myself isolated from the group and way too close to this fossa. At the blink of a second, it was done with the chicken legs and turned its attention to me. It came running at me with the determination seen in the above shot, whilst bystanders were shouting "careful!".<br />
<br />
I figured running doesn't exactly help in such a situation so I just froze and awaited my faith. A few metres before reaching me, the fossa slowed down and sniffed the air. It probably then decided I stink too much, and turned around.<br />
<br />
Thank you for letting me live another day, dear Fossa. Cryptoprocta ferox,Fossa,Kirindy Reserve,Madagascar
      Posted 5 months ago, modified 5 months ago
  3. This might be one of my favorite shots of yours! :o Posted 5 months ago
    1. Thanks :) Posted 5 months ago
  4. This is a magnificent photograph my friend!
    Absolutely*
    Posted 5 months ago
    1. Thanks! Posted 5 months ago
  5. From today's Facebook post:

    Greater dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus major) are widely distributed in the forests of eastern Madagascar. They are nocturnal omnivores that mostly feed on fruit, nectar, small vertebrates, and insects. As a result of their diet, they help disperse seeds, aid in plant pollination, and control insect populations. They are also prey to many different animals, such as tenrecs, fossas, boas, civets, and birds.

    Greater dwarf lemurs live in areas with pronounced dry seasons. Interestingly, they enter estivation during the dry season. Estivation is very similar to hibernation, and is basically a period of prolonged dormancy that enables an animal to save energy. During these periods of dormancy, the lemurs find a safe place, such as a hollow tree, to rest. Estivation can last more than a month, during which time the lemurs burn fat that is stored at the base of their tails. They can lose up to 100 g of their weight during dormancy, which equals about 17% of their total body weight. {Spotted in Madagascar by JungleDragon founder, Ferdy Christant} #JungleDragon #Madagascar #Greaterdwarfdemur #Cheirogaleusmajor

    https://www.facebook.com/jungledragonwildlife/
    Posted 5 months ago
    1. Excellent writing as always, and thank you for giving this one attention :) Posted 5 months ago
      1. You're welcome, Ferdy! It was too cute to not share. Posted 5 months ago

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The greater dwarf lemur , or the Geoffroy's dwarf lemur, is a lemur that is widely distributed over the primary and secondary forests near the eastern coast of Madagascar. They are also found in northern parts of Madagascar. Greater dwarf lemurs live in forests and dry scrub areas. The head and body of the greater dwarf lemur can range from 167 to 264 millimeters in length, and 164 to 600 grams. Their tails can range from 195 to 310 millimeters in length.

Similar species: Primates
Species identified by Ferdy Christant
View Ferdy Christant's profile

By Ferdy Christant

All rights reserved
Uploaded Jan 31, 2020. Captured Jul 23, 2019 18:58.
  • NIKON D850
  • f/2.2
  • 1/250s
  • ISO8000
  • 85mm