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Tenrecs: Tenrecidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Common Tenrec (tenrec Ecaudatus): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, TENRECS AND PEOPLE


Tenrecs live in Madagascar and western central Africa. Introduced to Comoros, Mascarenes, and Seychelles, which are islands in the Indian Ocean.

Most species live in humid forests or in grasslands. A few species can survive well in marshy areas, drier forests, or agricultural fields. Aquatic tenrecs and otter shrews spend much of their time in or near freshwater streams.

The tenrec diet varies considerably among species. For the most part, the land-living tenrecs eat insects, worms, and other invertebrates (animals without backbones). A few will also devour baby mice and other small vertebrates (animals with backbones), and some will even munch on dead animals they come across. The tenrecs that live in marshes, near streams, or in the water dine on other water-loving creatures, like aquatic insects, frogs, fishes, mollusks, and crabs.

Of all the tenrecs, the most popular is perhaps the greater hedgehog tenrec, which has become quite a popular pet. In Madagascar, which has a thriving tenrec community, humans have traditionally viewed the animals as a source of prime meat, and enthusiastically hunted them. Humans also hunt the giant otter shrew for its pelt.

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Animal Life ResourceMammals