Found in Madagascar and parts of the African mainland, tenrecs closely resemble hedgehogs but, in fact, they’re unrelated.

Lesser hedgehog tenrecs mostly feed on insects and usually forage alone. They are found in southern and southwestern areas of Madagascar, where wild populations are steadily declining as a result of severe habitat loss on the island. 

The tenrec, like much of Madagascar’s unique wildlife,  is coming under more and more pressure for survival as their forest habitat disappears to make way for fields of rice and other crops. 

The tailless tenrec, the largest species of tenrec, can have litters up to 32 young. They have 29 teats – more than any other mammal.

Tenrecs communicate in a variety of ways, such as smell, touch and sound. The lowland streaked tenrec though uses a method called stridulation, in which it rubs specialised quills on its back to make an ultrasonic call.

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Interesting facts

Where they live: African mainland

Habitat: Forests, grasslands

Size: 4.5cm and up to 39cm depending on species

Weight: 5g and up to 1kg depending on species

Threats: Habitat loss| Fragmentation| Hunting for fur and meat

Species Information

Scientific name Echinops telfairi
Order Afrosoricida
Family Tenrecidae
Genus Echinops
IUCN status Least Concern
Roles in the zoo