Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Lesser Madagascar Hedgehog Tenrec

Echinops telfairi

Lesser Madagascar Hedgehog Tenrec

Home Range

Southern and southwestern Madagscar


Dry forest, dry coastal regions, and semidesert


Insects and occasionally fruit


After gestation of about 49 days, a litter of one to ten young (usually five to seven) is born. The young weigh only about eight grams, and become independent after 30 to 35 days.

Social Structure

Solitary. Active mainly at night; enters a state of torpor (greatly reduced activity) for three to five months, during the cold season.

Fun Facts

When threatened, these tenrecs curl into a ball, leaving only sharp spines—modified hairs—exposed.

There are more than 25 species of tenrecs, adapted for living in trees and water and on the ground. Most live in Madagascar, but some can be found on mainland Africa and the Comoro Islands.

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