MADAGASCAN Desert Shrubland

The fascinating reptiles of the dry habitats of Madagascar, including the Spiny Forest and the Succulent shrublands...


Astrochelys radiata, 'Radiated Tortoise'. Distinctive patterns on shell give common name. Found only in dry habitats in southern Madagascar. Rare in the wild, they are commonly introduced into lodges and parks around Madagascar (Isalo Lodge).

Lizards & Snakes

Family Opluridae: 'Madagascan Iguanas'

Oplurus quadrimaculatus, 'Dumeril's Madagascar Swift'. Usually found on rocks. Endemic to drier habitats in southern and central Madagascar. Sometimes quite tame.

You know how your mum used to say she had eyes in the back of her head? Well this guy really does...

Chalarodon madagascariensis, 'Three-eyed Lizard'. Distinct dark spot on top of head is the parietal/pineal eye, the 'third eye' of the common name. Most lizards have this, but in this species it quite marked. Endemic to the spiny forest and succulent shrublands of southern and western Madagascar. 

Family  Gerrhosauridae: Plated Lizards

Skink-like lizards that are usually chunkier and distinguished by a very 'flattened' look. The family is found only in Africa and Madagascar. In the latter country they are quite common and easily noticed when they rustle loudly in amongst leaf litter on the forest floor, and often stop still to allow easy viewing.

Tracheloptychus madagascariensis, 'Madagascar Keeled Plated Lizard'. Has distinctive three stripes running along back. Endemic to the dry forests of southern and western Madagascar.

For the page on the Madagascar desert shrublands
For the page on the invertebrates of the Madagascar desert shrublands
For the page on the reptiles of the Madagascar desert shrublands
For the page on the places to experience the Madagascar desert shrublands

Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? The first expedition I am booked to work on after the virus is New Guinea & Indonesia in 2021 with Silversea.