Madagascar Facts
Madagascar Facts

30 Interesting Madagascar Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published December 13, 2020
  • Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent about 88 million years ago.[1]
  • Over 90% of of Madagascar's wildlife is not found anywhere else in the world.[2]
  • Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island, after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo. It is often referred to as a "mini continent."[2]
  • Over 50% of the world's chameleon population lives in Madagascar.[2]
  • Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world.[1]
  • Madagascar People Fact
    Humans have inhabited Madagascar for only about 1,300 years
  • People who live in Madagascar are called Malagasies.[1]
  • In Madagascar, only 11% of the roads are paved.[2]
  • The official languages of Madagascar are Malagasy and French.[1]
  • Madagascar is home to the third largest coral reef system in the world.[2]
  • Contrary to the popular animated movie, Madagascar has no lions, giraffes, hippos, or zebras.[1]
  • The fossa is the largest carnivorous mammal on Madagascar. They look like a mix between a cat, dog, and a mongoose, and they can reach 6 feet in length.[1]
  • Madagascar used to be a French colony. Today, over 60% of travellers to Madagascar are from France, followed by Germans, Americans, and Brits.[2]
  • Malagasy worship their ancestors by exhuming them, rewrapping them in fresh burial clothes, and then dancing around the tomb with them. It's considered extremely rude for tourists to comment on how strange this may seem.[1]
  • The first settlers on Madagascar were of Malayo-Indonesian descent, specifically from Indonesia, Sumatra, and Java.[2]
  • The official animal of Madagascar in the zebu.[1]
  • Wild lemurs are only found in Madagascar.[1]
  • Random Madagascar Facts
    Lemurs are the world's oldest living primates

  • Because of Madagascar's deep red color, the country is often called the Great Red Island.[1]
  • Over 85% of Madagascar's original forests have been cut down for fuel, for sale, and for farming. Madagascar is at the top of the World Wildlife Fund's list of endangered environments.[1]
  • An estimated 1 in every 10 people in Madagascar smoke marijuana. Countries ahead of Madagascar include the United States, France, Australia, and, the top country, Iceland.[4]
  • The baobab tree is the the most unique and famous plant found in Madagascar.[2]
  • Grandidier
    Adansonia grandidieri, sometimes called Grandidier's baobab, is classified as endangered

  • Madagascar ranks in the top 10 of the least happy countries. It has a per capita GDP of $1,554 (179th of 187 nations) and a life expectancy of just 65.5 years.[5]
  • Madagascar's many secluded coves, absence of European power, and fresh water made it a perfect haven for pirates.[6]
  • The traditional clothing of Madagascar is the lamba, which is worn by both men and women. It is a rectangular piece of cloth that is wrapped around the body. Different designs are worn for different occasions.[7]
  • A form of bare-fisted combat called moraingy is popular in Madagascar. Originating in the 15th century, the intense sport has the shortest round duration among global fighting sports.[3]
  • Madagascar Animal Fact
    As if rats weren't bad enough
  • Madagascar is home to the giant jumping rat. True to its name, it can jump nearly 40 inches into the air.[1]
  • Madagascar is famous for its high-quality sapphires. Gem hunters have had such a devastating effect on Madagascar's environment that local residents have called for military intervention.[2]
  • Madagascar gained its independence from France in 1960.[1]
  • An estimated 70% of Madagascar's residents live on less than $1 per day.[1]
  • Over 60% of Madagascar's population is under the age of 25.[1]
  • Hainteny is Malagasy for "knowledge of words" and is a traditional form of oral literature and poetry that relies heavily on metaphor.[1]
  • Amazing Madagascar Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Interesting Madagascar Infographic

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