Breakfast Male Lemur
Research Scientists at Berenty
HOMEPAGE of the Berenty Website The Berenty Reserve Tourism Website The Ako Project

"Child in Tampolo"
"Child in Tampolo"
© photo by A. Fernand, LCF

Reptiles and Amphibians at Berenty

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Furcifer-verrucosus © photo by G Williams; 

Only one study has been done on reptiles and amphibians at Berenty. One of the most significant finds was a speciment of Pseudoxyrhopus kely. This snake is otherwise known only from the tiny coastal forest of Mandena, near Fort Dauphin, in a wholly different climate regime and forest type. Mandena now has a 240 ha conservation zone, about as large as Berenty, to protect its species while other areas of Mandena are mined for titanium ore over the next 20 years. The Berenty specimen suggests that the snake can survive in a small protected area and that its potential distribution is much wider than the forests of the mine site.

Other snakes commonly seen in the rainy season include the ground and tree boas, Acranthopis madagascariensis and Sanzinia madagascariensis, and the reptile eating snake Leioheterodon geayi. Leioheterodon is polymorphic, either overall yellow sand color, or with an althernating "brickwork" black and yellow scales. All these large snakes shelter in the very large holes of the housekeeper ant, Aphaenogaster swammerdami. Local legend says that the ants feed the snakes until they are too big to emerge, whereupon the ants eat them. It seems instead that the snakes use the ant holes with impunity, though the ants may profit by the snakes' protein-rich feces.

Boa © photo by Rowe
Radiated Tortoise, Up Close
Radiated Tortoise, Up Close © Cyril Ruoso,

The radiated tortoise, Geochelone radiata, and the spider tortoise, Pyxis arachnoides, are both found wild in the Reserve and in tortoise enclosures. The ones in enclosures were saved from markets or bred in the encosure. Radiated tortoises are taboo to eat for local Tandroy people, but appreciated as stew by Tanosy people of Fort Dauphin. Many are smuggled out for export to China as food, and some to western reptile collectors. The Water and Forests department sent 200 confiscated tortoises to the Rapily reserve at Berenty.

Radiated TortoiseRadiated Tortoise © photo by G Williams
Crocodile © photo by D Custance 

When Berenty was founded in 1936, crocodiles were common in the Mandrare river, annually eating a woman washing clothes, a man's paddle-arm, or even the tongues from drinking cattle (Genevieve, Naturaliste Guardian and J. de Heaulme, pers. comm.) A smallish one of about 1 meter lived on Berenty's bank in 1990 but died in the drought of 1992. A few crocodiles are in captivity at Berenty, both for show and for their own safety.


Herpetofauna List

From Crowley, Management Plan for Berenty, 1995. Compiled by Daniel Morris in 1992, working with Reserve Manager Helen Crowley and supervised by Prof Ronald Nussbaum ( The list was from a short study, probably incomplete.


    Furcifer oustaleti=
    Chamaeleo verrucosus
    Furcifer lateralis
    Tracheloptychus madagascariensis
    Tracheloptychus sp.
    Zonosaurua trilineatus

    Geckolepis typica
    Hemidactylus mercatorius
    Lygodactylus tuberosus
    Lygodactylus verticellatus
    Paroedura androyensis
    Paroedura bastardi
    Paroedura pictus
    Phelsuma modesta
    Phelsuma mutabilis
    Chalarodon madagascariensis
    Oplurus cyclurus
    Amphiglossus igneocaudatus
    Amphiglossus ornaticeps
    Androngo trivittatus?
    Mabuya aureopunctuata
    Mabuya elegans
    Mabuya gravenhorstii
    Mabuya dumasi
    Voeltskowia lineata


    Scaphiophryne brevis
    Scaphiophryne calcarata

    Tomopterna labrosa
    Boophis tephraeomystax
    Heteryadus butili

Man with Chameleon on Arm
                                      © photo by H Clarke


    Boa madagascariensis=
    Acrantophis madagascariensis
    Sanzinia madagascariensis
    Dromicodryas bernieri
    Heteroliodon occipitalis
    Itycyphus oursi
    Langaha nasuta
    Leioheterodon geayi
    Liophidium torquatus
    Liophidium vaillanti
    Lycodryas gaimaridi
    Madagascarohis colubrinus
    Mimophis mahfalensis
    Pseudoxyrhopus kely
    Ramphotyphlops braminus
    Typhlops boettgeri


    Erymnochelys madagascariensis, in captivity
    Pelomedusa subrufa, in captivity

    Geochelone radiata
    Pyxis arachnoides