Lesser hedgehog tenrec

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Lesser hedgehog tenrec[1]
Scientific classification

Martin, 1838
E. telfairi
Binomial name
Echinops telfairi
Martin, 1838
Echinops telfairi range map.svg
Lesser hedgehog tenrec range

The lesser hedgehog tenrec (Echinops telfairi) is a species of mammal in the family Tenrecidae.

It is the only species in the genus Echinops and is named in honour of Charles Telfair.[1]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is endemic to Madagascar. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, dry savanna, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland.[2]


The lesser hedgehog tenrec is a small, stout-bodied animal similar to the hedgehog, hence the name. Their tails are short, their limbs and muzzles are of moderate length, and their ears are prominent. The entire dorsum is covered with sharp spines. Color is usually yellow buff; individuals range from near white to almost black. Head and body length is 5 to 6.8 inches (13 to 17 cm). Weight is about 7 ounces (0.2 kg).

Tenrecs have a cloaca (common uro-genital opening), like a bird or a reptile.[3]


This tenrec is terrestrial.[4]

Shelter and hibernation[edit]

It spends its daytime hours resting under a log or in a hollow tree, although trees are widely scattered in its native habitat. In hot weather, it sleeps with its body extended, but otherwise lies in a curled position to rest. It enters a state of torpor in the winter time.[3]


They mostly feed upon insects but may prey on small vertebrates, and usually forage alone, except for a mother with her young.


Breeding is known to occur in October but may depend on warm weather first arousing the animals from winter torpor and on an available food supply.


The lesser hedgehog tenrec has become popular in the exotic pet industry and it may be used as a model organism in the future.[citation needed]


  • Simon and Schuster's Guide to Mammals
  1. ^ a b Bronner, G.N.; Jenkins, P.D. (2005). "Order Afrosoricida". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b Afrotheria Specialist Group (Tenrec Section); Olson, L. & Goodman, S. (2008). "Echinops telfairi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
  3. ^ a b http://afrotheria.net/tenrecs/
  4. ^ http://oldredlist.iucnredlist.org/details/40592/0

Further reading[edit]

  • Suárez R., Villalón A., Künzle H., Mpodozis J. (2009) "Transposition and Intermingling of Gαi2 and Gαo Afferences into Single Vomeronasal Glomeruli in the Madagascan Lesser Tenrec Echinops telfairi". PLoS ONE 4(11): e8005. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008005

External links[edit]