Friday, 16 November 2012


16th November

In Isalo today the Verreaux’s sifakas looped through the trees around us and cocked their heads to peer at us, strange white primates, with their quizzical yellow eyes. Their young, born three or four months ago now, are big and strong and often confident enough to leave their mothers and come pinging through the forest to investigate the visiting vasas. Nearby a fandrefiala coiled effortlessly up a liana. This beautiful, near-harmless snake is thought by local people to stiffen itself and drop like a deadly dart from trees to kill hapless people and their zebu. All of my group survived the encounter.

A Benson’s (forest) rock thrush quivered its tail on a boulder in a dry stream, rosy periwinkles bloomed, a locally endemic frog shone day-glo yellow from a bright leaf, and, as we left the Canyon des Rats, the low cloud hurled its thunder and its lightning and its striking rain at us. We trudged through the heavy clay, pelted by the rain, and smiled big smiles for the lemurs we had left in the forest and for all the Malagasy creatures we are yet to see. Tomorrow Zombitse and on to Ifaty.

New today in Isalo


Ithycyphus miniatus



Heterixalus luteostriatus

2012 Totals
Mammals: 128
Birds: 983
Reptiles: 74
Amphibians: 21
Fish: 12


  1. You're seeing such awesome herps there; I had to google Heterixalus luteostriatus, which I recommend. I might get more into those than the birds if I were there. What's a lemur?

  2. Hi Rich, the herps are indeed wonderful, but so are the plants, the mammals and the people. I'm off to Andasibe again today, hoping to add one or two more birds to the list. I'm nailbitingly close to 1,000 and Norfolk has very little to offer when I get home. There's a slim chance of a new mammal or two there too. Wingtips crossed.