Madagascar Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Claire DeSaussure

Claire has worked in behavioral programs at the Elementary Level and has an MLS with a focus on Creative Writing.

Madagascar is an island nation that lies on the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. Madagascar is famous for the special plants and animals that live there.

What is Madagascar?

What do you know about Madagascar? Some may say it's a movie, but it's also a country full of unique animals and plants. But did you know that three quarters of the animals in Madagascar live nowhere else on the planet? Madagascar is famous for this biodiversity, or variety of plants and animals. And did you also know, that there are no elephants, lions or giraffes that live there even though it is so close to Africa?

A Closer Look

If you look at the map of Africa, you can see that Madagascar is the green mitten-shaped island at the bottom right. If you have really good eyes, you can also see tiny green islands, and they are also part of Madagascar.

Madagascar off the Southeast Coast of Africa
Map of Africa

The capital city of Madagascar is Antananarivo, the city is on a hill and the Royal Estate sits on the very top. This palace was the home to Imerina kings who were in charge of the city from 1794 to the late 1800's. Over one million people live in the city, while the population of Madagascar is about 23 million people. The climate in Madagascar varies, but it typically has two seasons: hot, rainy and cooler, dry.

Madagascar wasn't formed by volcanoes in the way that some islands are. It was originally part of a large land mass called Gondwana. Millions of years ago, Gondwana broke apart and pieces of land floated away. Madagascar floated away from India, which is why it has different animals from the ones in Africa.

Unusual Species

All of the lemurs on Madagascar live nowhere else in the world! A lemur is a primate, which means it has live young and lives mostly in the trees. The Sifaka Lemur is the most endangered primate in the world because their forest homes are destroyed as people clear land for farming. This lemur is special because it sometimes runs on two legs.

A Sifaka Lemur Running on Two Legs

The most unusual lemur on Madagascar is the aye-aye. This creature looks like no other on earth. It has massive ears like a bat, a pointy face with large teeth like a rat, and massive green eyes. It also has one very long bony finger that it uses to catch insects hiding inside trunks of trees. Sadly, aye-aye's face extinction (wiped out completely) because local people kill them because they think they are a sign of bad luck.

The Strange Aye-Aye

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