Lowland Streaked Tenrec Facts
- The lowland streaked tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is a small mammal within the Tenrecidae family and are only found in tropical lowland rain forest in the eastern parts of Madagascar.
- Tenrecs are odd-looking creatures that look like a cross between a shrew and a hedgehog having a bad hair day, don’t you think?
- The lowland streaked tenrec has a long snout and limbs, and a vestigial tail. The hair, or fur, is black with yellow stripes that run down the side of the body, and a yellowish band running from the crown to the tip of the snout.
- It has a messy assemblage of quills which are barbed and detachable.
- The head and body are 4.8 to 6.5 inches (12.2 to16.5 cm) in length. The weight is about 7 ounces (200 grams).
- The streaked tenrec is active during day and night, feeding primarily upon earthworms, but also on insects.
- During the winter (May to October), tenrecs can drop their body temperature to nearly that of the surroundings to conserve energy, but in the coldest weather, they must hibernate.
- Their breeding season is from October to December, although, depending upon local food supply and temperature, they may also mate at other times of the year.
- The gestation period lasts 58 days. The average size of a litter is 6 young. The young are weaned at 18 to 25 days.
- Females are reproductively active at a young age, sometimes breeding at just five week!
- The lowland streaked tenrec lives in long, shallow burrows, usually in family groups of about 20 individuals.
- The streaked tenrec communicate with other by a method known as stridulation, the act of producing sound by rubbing together certain body parts. In this case, the body parts are specialized quills on the middle of their backs which they vibrate to create a low-pitched noise. The lowland streaked tenrec is the only known mammal to have the ability to do this. It is a method more commonly associated with insects and snakes.
Take a quick look at this very short video to see how they produce sound.
It’s so unique!
- If threatened by a predator, a streaked tenrec will raise the barbed quills on its back and around its neck and buck the head violently to attempt to drive the quills into the attacker’s nose or paws.
I hope you have reading, “L is for Lowland Streaked Tenrec”
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