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Carnivores, of which the most remarkable is the Fossa or Cryptoprocta-a large cat-like animal allied to the Civets, but sufficiently distinct to form a separate family (see Fig. 19, p. 102) according to some authorities. Of the Civets, besides a Viverricula closely allied to the Indian Civet, there are six genera with eight species of Mongooses, all confined to the island. Of these the most remarkable is Eupleres a form the jaws and teeth of which are so weak and small, that it was at one time thought to belong to the Insectivora. On the whole, out of the seven genera of Carnivora found in the island, six are absolutely peculiar.
Among the Insectivora of this Sub-region even greater specialisation prevails. Besides two species of ubiquitous shrews (Sorex) said to occur there, there are eight genera of this Order found in Madagascar, all of which are confined to the island. Geogale, a small mouse-like animal about which little is known, is said to be allied to Potamogale, an aquatic otter-like animal found only in Western Africa. The remaining seven genera make up the family Centetidæ, the affinities of which are somewhat doubtful, but seem on the whole to approach the Solenodonts, a group confined to the Greater Antilles. The best known of the Centetida is the Tenrec-the largest member of the order, between twelve and sixteen inches long, and devoid of a tail (see Fig. 20, p. 104). The young of this creature are covered with spines like a hedgehog, but these are lost in the adult state.
The Bats of Madagascar, as would naturally be expected, do not exhibit the great peculiarities found among the other orders of mammals. Out of about twelve genera only one is confined to the island. The distribution of Pteropus, the genus of large tropical fruit-eating bats, often
called "Flying-foxes," is interesting. Five members of this genus are found in the Malagasy Sub-region, including two species in the Comoro islands, and although these islands are almost within sight of the mainland of Africa, not a single representative of the true Pteropus has yet been obtained on the continent.
Finally, among the Lemurs we reach the culminating point of the Fauna of this strange land. No less than eleven genera of this Sub-order are entirely confined to the Sub-region, while outside of it there are only five genera now in existence, two of them belonging to Africa proper, and three to the Oriental Region.
The lemurs are none of them very large; they are all
arboreal animals, spending their lives retired in the forest, and, as a rule, strictly nocturnal. Though allied to the monkeys, they have none of their vivacity and intelligence;
they move but slowly, and have usually very large eyes, which are no doubt necessitated by their nocturnal habits. The lemurs inhabiting Madagascar are divided into two families: (a) the Lemurida, with ten genera and about
thirty-five species, to which family, also, the African and two of the Oriental genera are generally assigned; and (b)
the Chiromyidæ. The Indrises (Indrisina) form a distinct sub-family of Lemuride with three genera, all re
stricted to Madagascar (see Fig. 21, p. 105). The typical Lemurs (Lemurida) are also only found in this island (see Fig. 22, p. 106).
The second family of the Lemurine Order (Chiromyidæ) contains only a single genus and species, the extremely
anomalous Aye-aye, discovered by the traveller Sonnerat in 1780 (see Fig. 23). There are generally examples of this curious animal in the Zoological Society's gardens in London, but, unless especially aroused, they are seldom seen by daylight. Their chief peculiarity is the long, thin,