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Madagascar Tenrec

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Madagascar tenrec, Madagascar hedgehog
Genus Species
Setifer setosus

Fast Facts

A tenrec's coat is made up of thick, stiff hairs that look very much like spines or quills. Its belly is covered with short, soft fur.
Head & body length: approximately 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in.)
Tail length: approximately 1.5 to 1.6 cm (0.6 in.)
Approximately 500 g (1.1 lbs.)
Madagascar tenrecs are omnivores but feed primarily on insects, grubs, invertebrates and fruit. They will also scavenge if necessary.
Approximately 51 to 69 days; females give birth to 1 to 5 offspring with an average of 3. Their gestation period varies with ambient temperature, being shorter when temperatures are higher.
Nursing Duration
After 15 to 30 days (wean)
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 6 months
Life Span
Around 10 years; up to 14 years in captivity
This species is endemic to the island of Madagascar where it is generally found throughout the island. It has an altitudinal range of sea level to around 2,250 m (7,312 ft.).
The Madagascar tenrec is found throughout the island in all habitat types, with the exception of wetlands and marshes. It appears to favor the eastern forests and lower elevations, but may be found in moist and dry zones.
Global: Unknown; this is a widespread species, with no significant threats.
IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. Tenrecs are nocturnal and quite shy. They nest in shallow burrows or tree cavities during the day.
  2. They spend their time foraging for insects and vegetation or sleeping in an underground burrow.
  3. When scared, tenrecs curl up in a ball with their spines erect to protect them from predators.
  4. Madagascar tenrecs are the only species in their genus.

Ecology and Conservation

Tenrecs may help control pests because they consume large quantities of insects and small invertebrates.

There appears to be no major threats to this species. It is locally threatened by overhunting and habitat loss in some parts of its range.


Nowak, Ronald M. (ed.). Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol. I. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Parker, S. (ed.). Grizmek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol. IV. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., 1990.

Encyclopedia of Life – Madagascar Tenrec Species Profile. Downloaded 17 October 2018.

Owens, R. 2014. "Setifer setosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed October 17, 2018 at