We have a new interest here at Essex Pygmy Hedgehogs – the Madagascan Lesser Tenrec (nicknamed the Hedgehog tenrec)

Lesser Tenrecs are a species of mammal in the family tenrecidae. There are several species of tenrec with the most common being the lesser, common, and greater. The most commonly kept as pets are the Lessers. Although there are similarities between Tenrecs and hedgehogs, they are in no way related. In actual fact, the nearest genetic relative to a Tenrec is… an elephant!!

The lifespan of a Tenrec is longer than that of the Hedgehog and is 7-10 years on average. Unlike hedgehogs, Tenrecs can be housed together although only one male per enclosure as boys will fight. A Tenrecs diet is quite different to that of the Hedgehog. 80% of the diet is live insects (crickets, mealworms etc) they will also eat pinkies. The remaining 20% is mage up of a good quality Cat kibble. They also need a calcium supplement.

We have owned one male, Vlad, for approximately 18 months and have taken on a breeding trio last summer. We are carefully researching the breeding of these lovely animals (they only breed once a year after torpor) and are hoping for a litter this year.

Unlike Hedgehog, Tenrecs are very able climbers and enjoy logs and branches to climb on in their enclosure. Like hedgehogs, they will run in a wheel but not obsessively as the hedgehogs do. Also unlike hedgehogs, Tenrecs naturally enter a state of torpor in the winter months (similar to hibernation but not such a deep sleep). They are wonderful, fascinating creatures. 

We will be bringing Tenrecs to our events this year so if you come along, please feel free to ask to see them.



Bring your hog for a holiday he/she will be well looked after. So contact us and I’ll be happy to advise you of availability. Prices start from £5 per night.


Hazel came to visit our party with a mother hedgehog and four gorgeous hoglets. She taught us so much about them and we had lots of time to hold them and take pictures. A bonus surprise was meeting Peanut the Tenrec, who enjoyed snoozing in the warmth of our palms. I wanted to take him home with me! Thanks Hazel for a special afternoon.
C Bates
28 March 2019

Hi Hazel and Mark, thank you so much for bringing your gorgeous hedgehogs to our Rainbow unit - the adults loved it just as much as the girls! You're brilliant at interacting with the girls and it's obvious the hedgehogs mean a lot to you both. Hope to see you again, I'll definitely keep recommending you. Best wishes, Cecile, 1st Danbury Rainbows Unit
28 March 2019

Hazel is so lovely and helpful fell like I've known her for years got our little hedgehog for daughter for Christmas she has settled in already and loves being held and cuddled thank u hazel for making mine and Libby's Christmas love little Hedi so much already xxx
Kelly Thomas
23rd December 2017

Hazel was great at getting me a hedgehog to surprise my wife at the reception of our wedding during the speeches. Safe to say she is over the moon and completely in love with him. Bursting into tears the moment she saw him! Thank you for the help and hog!
Danny Snozzwangers Molloy
24 July 2017

I met hazel and her son tonight when picking up my new pygmy hoglet. Hazel is such a lovely person and fanatical about all her animals. Well done to her son for passing all his exams for the next stage in his career. Holly has settled well and loves her new cage. Thank you hazel. Was lovely meeting you both ;)
Sarah Shelton
6 July 2017

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Essex Pygmy Hedgehogs