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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.

Family Chamaeleonidae

(Isalo, Madagascar)

Furcifer oustaleti 'Malagasy Giant Chameleon', 'Oustalets's Chameleon'. Probably the most widespread and commonly seen of Madagascar's endemic chameleons, especially in more open habitats and including human habitats. 

For the page on the Madagascar desert shrublands

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly as Expedition Leader in the Kimberley (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.