Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec


Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec

Scientific Name

Echinops telfairi


Tenrecs are small mammals resembling Hedgehogs, however they are unrelated. Tenrecs are covered with spines which range in colour from white to black. Fine hairs cover their paws and bellies, and their tails are barely visible. Tenrecs communicate in a variety of ways, such as smell and touch, but can also make a few noises. When threatened, they roll into balls to protect their soft underbellies. They will also lunge backward to drive their spines into their enemies. They spend most of their time sleeping during the day and are primarily active at night. 

Tenrecs go through torpor for three to five months during the cold season. Torpor is a state of hibernation-like inactivity in the body, in which the animal's temperature, respiration, and heartbeat decrease to conserve energy.

Tenrecs can live for up to 8 to 10 years in the wild, and up to 13 years in human care.


In the wild, Tenrecs are opportunistic feeders; they will forage on the ground and in trees for invertebrates. They will also eat some other small animals, such as baby mice. They will usually forage alone. 

Size Fact

Tenrecs can range in size from 4.5cm and up to 39cm and weigh between 5g and up to 1kg (depending on species).

The tailless Tenrec is the largest species of Tenrec.

Food Fact

 At Noah's Ark, our Tenrec (Terri) is fed a dry insectivore diet and insects, such as mealworms.

Fun Fact

The lowland streaked Tenrec uses a method called stridulation to comunicate, in which it rubs specialised quills on its back to make an ultrasonic call.

IUCN Red list

 Tenrecs are listed as Least Concern.

Where do I live?

Tenrecs are found in the arid regions of southern Madagascar, where they live in dry forests, coastal regions, scrub and semi-desert areas. To seek shelter, tenrecs make dens in tree cavities.

Our animals

Terri the Tenrec is one of our Education animals. You might get the chance to meet him in one of our education workshops or during Jungle Tots, our parent and toddler group.





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