Madagascar is an island off the coast of Southeast Africa and has one of the largest rain forests in the world. Because of its geographic isolation, Madagascar is home to many amazing animals found nowhere else on Earth. Here are some that reside at Fort Rickey Children’s Discovery Zoo:


The Hissing Cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa, is shiny brown and oval-shaped, with no wings and a single pair of antennae. Males sport large horns, which give them an unusual and impressive appearance.

Hissing is a part of the cockroach’s mating ritual, and can be used as an effective alarm cry. Most insects that make noise do so by rubbing their body parts together or by employing vibrating membranes. Madagascar hissing cockroaches, however, exhale air through their breathing holes. This audible use of the respiratory system is far more common in vertebrates.

The size a hissing cockroach is relative to that of a paper clip.

Mating season: Summer months
Gestation: 60-70 days of incubation
Litter Size: 20-60 nymphs

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach


Ring-tailed lemurs, Lemur catta, are unmistakable because of their long, vividly striped, black-and-white tail. Lemurs use their hands and feet to move nimbly through the trees, but cannot grip with their tails as some of their primate cousins do. Ring-tailed lemurs also spend a lot of time on the ground, which is unusual among lemur species. They forage for fruit, which makes up the greater part of their diet, but also eat leaves, flowers, tree bark, and sap.

They have powerful scent glands and use their unique odor as a communication tool and even as a kind of weapon. Lemurs mark their territory by scent, serving notice of their presence to all who can smell.

Ring-tailed lemurs are endangered, largely because the sparse, dry forests they love are quickly vanishing.

Mating season: May
Gestation: 135-145 days
Litter Size: Usually 1 infant

Ring-Tailed Lemur