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The famocantratra, meaning “leaper at the chest” is an unknown species of small lizard-like animal, possibly a gecko said to inhabit Madagascar. They are greenish-grey in colour and camouflage well on bark, where they are typically seen. It often sits motionless on trees with its mouth open, somehow attracting insects, possibly via pheromones, which it eats. 

The strangest feature of the famocantratra is their tiny hooks that appear on their stomach, chin, feet and leaf-like tail, which they use to tightly grip onto trees. Although the famocantratra are small animals, tiny enough to hold in the palm of your hand, they are feared, as they sometimes unexpectedly jump onto passers-by, digging their tiny hooks into skin deep enough, that you need to use a razor to cut around the flesh it's gripping on to in order to free yourself. 

There are few accounts of famocantratras, most of which are in old books from the mid 17th century. The oldest book to mention the famocantratra was in Étienne de Flacourt's book Histoire de la grande Isle de Madagascar, written in 1661. No mention of famocantratras have been recorded in modern times, so they are likely extinct, if they ever existed in the first place.

Flacourt's book
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