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.
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.