Anyone who has seen the animated Madagascar movies will fondly remember the famously zany King Julian. But did you know that lemurs actually form matriarchal societies? This means that instead of having a king as a leader they would have rather had a queen to establish rules and protect their territory. But then filmgoers would have been deprived of the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen’s hilarious character. While the film is a fun fictional tale there are some instances of artistic license worth pointing out, especially if you would like to consider yourself an expert on Madagascar or simply avoid the embarrassment of asking your guide where the penguins are…
King Julien tells the newcomers that no people live in Madagascar whereas the island is actually inhabited by over 26 million people. Although many parts of Madagascar are very remote and it may be possible the lemurs think no one lives there because they have never seen anybody in their part of the forest.
The lemurs are right to be scared of the fossa as 50% of the cat-like creature’s diet is made up of lemurs. They are the island’s largest carnivore and its top predator. However, they are solitary creatures and wouldn’t hunt in groups as depicted in the film.
Alex the lion‘s hunger pains and conflict about eating his friends could be perhaps have been resolved by eating the Fossa but just one wouldn’t be enough to sustain him until his next meal time, most animals in Madagascar are smaller in size than the antelope and giraffe found on the African continent and wouldn’t provide enough sustenance for a hungry lion. The sushi that the penguins make for him, unfortunately, wouldn’t do the trick either as lions do not enjoy eating fish, unlike their smaller feline counterparts the domestic cat.
What might have seemed like an “only in the movies” scenario of the adorable lemurs’ performance of “I Like to Move It” is not that far off. Lemurs do actually sing and dance, or at least some of them like the singing Indri and the dancing Sifaka so in this instance the film wasn’t being too far-fetched.
Why not plan a trip to Madagascar and fact-check the film for yourself?
Other interesting facts about Madagascar you should know before visiting: