Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus)

…is a small species of tenrec found throughout eastern and northern Madagascar. Like other tenrec species the lowland streaked tenrec is mostly nocturnal hunting for earthworms and insects under the cover of darkness. When threatened this tenrec can erect its quills forward and will attempt to drive them into its attacker. When foraging the lowland streaked tenrec is often found in small family groups that communicate with each other by vibrating the spines on their middle of their backs. They are the only recorded mammal to communicate via this method known as stridulation.



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Three Wee Tenrec Tykes Born at Paradise Wildlife Park

The UK’s Paradise Wildlife Park announced the birth three Tenrec babies! Born to mom Maisy on the 10th of July, these prickly little balls look a lot like Hedgehogs… but are, in fact, completely unrelated! They have simply evolved the same method of defense, which is to roll up in a ball so that predators are met with only their outer coat of prickles. This is called convergent evolution, a process by which organisms not closely related independently evolve to have similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches.

Visit ZooBorns to learn about Tenrecs and see more photos!

Lowland Streaked Tenrec | ©Henry Cook

The Lowland streaked tenrec, Hemicentetes semispinosus (Afrosoricida - Tenrecidae), is one of the two extant species in the genus, both are found only on Madagascar [1].

Tenrecs look like a cross between a shrew and a hedgehog, with long, pointed snouts and spines amongst their fur. Hemicentetes semispinosus is a medium-sized slender tenrec (16-19cm length). It is blackish-brown with yellowish stripes running the length of the body and a yellowish band running from the crown to the tip of the snout. It has detachable, barbed spines which are most numerous on the crown. The underside is chestnut-brown with soft hairs [2]


Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec (Echinops telfairi)

…Despite its common name this Madagascan mammal is in no way related to insectivores and is more closely related to mammals from the age of dinosaurs. Like most tenrecs this species is only found on the island of Madagascar, this species in particular is only found in the southwestern region of the island. Like a hedgehog the lesser hedgehog tenrec is an insectivore and hunts at night for insects and other invertebrates. During the day they can be found resting either on the ground or in a tree as tenrecs unlike hedgehogs are proficient climbers.



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Mirombi, a lesser hedgehog tenrec at the Oakland Zoo in Oakland, California. 

He’s one of the animals the zoo uses for educational programs like ZooMobile. 

The Philadelphia Zoo used this photo on a sign in their small mammal house! :D 

© Copyright TVM Photography 2011


a Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) and a Club-winged Manakin (Machaeropterus deliciosus) practicing Stridulation, a process in which sound is produced by rubbing body parts together. Stridulation is usually practiced by insects, and the these two species are some of the only vertebrates that can do it.

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