Animal Lovers' Blog

The Smaller Majority

The island of Madagascar, an ancient chunk of the Indian subcontinent that somehow ended up very close to Africa’s eastern shores, has always been a magnet for biologists. And not surprisingly so: the place is bursting with ancient and endemic lineages, and in some groups of organisms 100% of their species can be found nowhere else. Lemurs usually get the most attention, but other animal groups are equally deserving gasps of wonder, and none more so than the mind-blowing Leaf tailed geckos (Uroplatus.)

When I first held the Giant Leaf tailed gecko (U. fimbriatus) in my hand after catching it in the rainforest of northern Madagascar, it felt as if I were holding a living, breathing beanie baby. It was the size of small puppy, and its skin was velvet-soft and warm. The gecko’s hands grasped my fingers the way a newborn holds its parent’s finger…

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