Jul 11, 2014

Fur, Feathers & Scales - Greater Hedgehog Tenrec

I realized last week that I've never introduced you guys to this animal!  This is a Greater Hedgehog Tenrec from Madagascar!  This particular one is a female, and her name is Maivana. 

Tenrecs look a lot like hedgehogs, because they are distantly related to them. However, tenrecs are endemic to Madagascar, meaning they're not found anywhere else in the world (in the wild.)  They are nocturnal and have fairly long whiskers to help them navigate dark, forest habitats.

Tenrecs can use their long toes and toenails to climb, and they have a surprisingly strong grasp with their legs and feet.  They are omnivores and eat vegetation and worms, grubs and other invertebrates. 

They are covered in spines that are used for protection.  In my opinion, a tenrec's spines are not quite as sharp as a hedgehog's spines.  Often I compare a tenrec's spines to feeling much like a hairbrush.  They can make chirping noises, and they also huff and hiss whey they're being defensive. 

Maivana was really fun (read: difficult) to photograph.  She was all over the place!  I was using a clay pot to keep the poster board backdrop in place, and she just wanted to climb it.  Check out some of our blooper photos below!


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