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August 3, 2003

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We explored Ranomafana Nat'l park under our own guidance. Visitors aren't supposed to enter without a guide, but park officials let it pass on our account because: (1) it was our second day in the park (2) they're laid back so they don't bother to hassle us (3) they didn't see us go in. On our own we managed to spot some interesting once-in-a-lifetime bird encounters - the Paradise Fly Catcher and the Blue Coua. We also saw red tailed mongooses, red bellied lemur, and the elusive fossa.
This male, red bellied lemur (only the males have white patches around the eye) grunts an alarm call when he sees this fossa. The fossa is a striped civet (not to be confused with a fosa, which is a twice as large and looks more like a mongoose - it's picture is on the day for July 23).
We rubbed bananas on the trees to attract lemurs. The lemurs rub their palms over the banana covered bark and lick their little hands clean.
One of Madagascar's colorful butterflies asleep on my finger. Turn out the lights and these creatures shut off too.