Variations: Famocantraton (Dapper)
The Famocantratra (as Flacourt describes it) or Famocantraton (in Dapper and subsequent works) is a small lizardlike animal found in Madagascar. Its name means “leaper at the chest”.
The famocantratra’s back, chin, and top of its neck, legs, and tail are made of small paws or claws which allow it to adhere to trees like glue. It is almost impossible to see as it sticks to trunks. Its mouth is always open to capture insects and other small invertebrates.
It will leap onto the chest of anyone who passes by, and it holds on so fast that the skin has to be sliced off with a razor. For this reason it is feared and avoided by the natives of Madagascar.
Dapper, O. (1686) Description de l’Afrique. Wolfgang, Waesberge, Boom, & van Someren, Amsterdam.
de Flacourt, E. (1661) Histoire de la Grande Isle Madagascar. Francois Clouzier, Paris.