Madagascar Tenrec's
Mary Simon's Madagascar Tenrec's homepage

last update: 05/27/98
I have recently been able to purchase five Madagascar Tenrec's. (A type of hedgehog) I'm learning all about them and mostly from them not the books. They dearly love earthworms, crickets and some of the canned cat food...but only when there aren't any earthworms...

I have PICTURES if you'd like to see.

There isn't much info on these little guys. There's a couple of pages from the University of Michigan website that has most of what is printed about them. I have Grzimek's Animal Encyclopedia, Volume 10, Mammals I, on loan from my vet. There's a little more in there than on the UM site. I'll add that info, too.

First, mine are the Hemicentetes semispinosus not the Hemicentetes nigriceps.

I have 2 that are 15 weeks old and 3 that are 10 weeks old. They are different bloodlines, I was told.

Grzimek's book says the Streaked tenrec will reach HRL of 16 - 19 cm and the body weight of 150g. They are burrowers, living in smooth-sided tunnels 15 centimeters deep and 24 to 50 centimeters long. (metric measures were in the book)

Grzimek's book says they can have as many as 8 babies because there are 4 pair of mammae. (I thought I saw more than that on a couple of mine...more like 6 pair.)

The underbelly hair on the H.s. semispinosus is soft, not spiney

I have five of them and they all stay in one tank 30" L x12" W x 12" H. (please multiply by 2.54 to get centimeters) I filled the tank with peat moss about 2 1/2" deep and put spagnum moss on top of that. They drink from a water bottle without the metal ball in the tube and I also added a small hamster wheel for them to use. The best way to describe them using the wheel is to say they _mosey_ (walk very leisurely) But they do use it..

Mine use a litter box filled with scoopable cat litter to releave themselves. Keeps the cage smelling much better.

I've seen them try to build a nest in which to sleep. They take scraps of moss or leaves in their mouthes to the sleeping area time after time though I've never seen much of a nest built. They all sleep in a pile on top of each other with the moss on top of themselves.

They have never tried to bite me although they will leave their quills in my fingers if I try to handle them too quickly. Most of the time, I can't even feel the quills in my fingers or hand. But I've learned to look for them because when they are pushed in or moved about, they do sting.

The only time they show any signs of aggression is when they are eating. If they are eating worms, either earthworms or mealworms, they try to grab it from one another, breaking the earthworms into pieces. (fun to watch.) When fighting over food, I've heard them make a squeaky type of a screaming sound. It doesn't happen often. Seems only to happen when the one who originally had the worm, lost the entire thing...I think I'd scream too.

The other foods I've been able to get them to eat are crickets and canned fish flavored cat food...They seem to like salmon especially well. They eat approximately 1/3 their body weight per day. (I have to get them to eat more crickets and cat food because the worms won't be available in winter in the quantities I'll need. Cost is also a consideration)

The sensor located on their backs looks like a little alien quivering there. Those spines are much shorter than the quills on the rest of the body. I would say about 1/8 inch long...about 12 of them set in a narrow oval shape. We didn't get a picture of that but next time Brian is here with his digital camera, we'll try to capture that.

Dr. W., (Vicki) is not only my vet, she has become my friend....The Cleveland Zoo passes out my name as a person who takes rescues from people who don't want their reptile pets ... most of them are iguanas. Vicki does the vet care and I follow her instructions and house and feed them during their recovery. Most of them have had, or still have lots of medical problems that have gone untreated because people just don't know what to do or who to go to for exotic vet care. We've both learned a great deal about the different problems that occur with them. She's also the reason I knew about Tenrecs. After I started with the AP hhogs, she told me that...and these are her exact words..."Tenrecs are far superior" to the standard AP hhog. That was four years ago. She's kept reminding me about them all along, so when I found them, I had to get them...

I think that's all for now. If you have any questions, just ASK.

--- w o r k . o n . t h i s . s i t e . i s . s t i l l . i n . p r o g r e s s ---