Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Greater Madagascar Hedgehog Tenrec

Small Madagascar Hedgehog Tenrec

Setifer setosus

Home Range

Northern and eastern Madagascar


Dry forest, agricultural areas, and eastern highlands of Madagascar


Greater Madagascar tenrecs, as well as lesser Madagascar hedgehog tenrecs, resemble hedgehogs but have a rounder muzzle and a less compact body. Their dense, sharp, white-tipped spines cover their back, sides, and short tail. They may be pale or blackish, with dark brown or whitish soft hair covering their limbs and underside, and they have relatively long whiskers growing from the muzzle. They are six to 8.6 inches long, plus a half-inch-long tail, and they weigh 6.3 to 9.5 ounces.


Insects, fruit, earthworms, and even some carrion


Breeding occurs in September and October. After a gestation of 51 to 69 days, one to five young may be born.

Social Structure



Great Madagascar hedgehog tenrecs are nocturnal. To defend themselves, these tenrecs roll into a protective ball, with their spines pointing in every direction. They may reduce their foraging area in winter and even enter a torpid state for much of the season.

The Zoo is also home to the lesser Madagascar hedgehog tenrec.