Below is the recommended diet of a Lesser Tenrec. I mix a mix of cat food kibble, Premium Insectivore Diet, Berries and Bugs, Instant, HPW honey berry flavor. Most of this can be purchased from Exoticnutrition.com
In the Wild Description: Size: Typically 5-6.5 inches long Weight: About 7 ounces Although they are similar in appearance to hedgehogs, they have adapted spines separately and are not closely related o The closest relatives to the tenrec family are otter shrews and golden moles o Are more distantly related to sengis (elephant shrews), aardvarks, elephants, hyraxes, dugongs, and manatees Their backs are covered in sharp spines of varying color, from tan or off-white to dark brown-black The belly, face, and legs are not covered in spines, but short, soft hair Have short tails, prominent ears, 5-toed feet with sharp claws, and many whiskers on the face Males and females cannot be differentiated externally Habitat and Range: Found in southern and southwestern Madagascar Prefer dry areas such as dry forests, scrublands, agricultural areas, dry coastal regions, and semi-desert regions
Diet: Insectivores: Eat insects and their larvae, eggs, spiders, and occasionally fruit
Adaptations: Have sharp, barbed spines covering their back. Will curl into a ball when threatened to expose the spines and protect their head, Spines are lifted and lowered by a well-developed muscle under their skin called the panniculus carnosus. If potential predators are persistent, will come out of the ball and bite Have poor eyesight so rely on their excellent sense of smell and hearing. Are able to climb trees using their sharp toenails Are able to lower their body temperature while sleeping to save energy Their bodies are able to prepare for breeding while in a state of torpor, an important and unique adaptation which allows them to breed within several days of becoming active after the cold season
Lifespan: About 10-15 years
Reproduction: Are sexually mature after they have gone through their first cold season in torpor Females have a cloaca – a single reproductive, intestinal, and urinary opening, unlike most mammals which have 2 or 3 separate openings Breeding occurs within several days after coming out of torpor, around October depending on temperatures – during colder years, may remain in torpor later About a month and a half after mating, females give birth to 1-10 (normally 5-7) young Newborns weigh approximately 8 grams Females care for their young for about a month without assistance from male Ecosystem relationships: Predators: Include birds of prey, viverrid carnivores (such as genets and civets), and snake
The most common Tenrec in the pet-trade is the Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec which would naturally live in Madagascar in forests, savanna, shrub land or grassland. They are similar in appearance to the hedgehog, with some differences including a short spine-covered tail. They measure from 5 - 6.8 inches and typically weigh around 200g. They have a good lifespan at between 7-10 years. Tenrecs do not reproduce readily in captivity, producing only one or two litters a year. Gestation is 60-70 days with weaning at 3-4 weeks of age. Unlike Hedgehogs, Tenrecs can be housed together, although you should only have one male per cage. They benefit from a more arboreal habitat than hedgehogs, being excellent climbers. Branches, cork tubes and stumps make excellent additions to their setup. They must have a hide to sleep in during the day. Tenrecs need a heat source such as an overhead heat lamp or ceramics. If they do not have enough heat that over the cooler months they may enter a state known as burmation. This differs from hibernation as there our different metabolic process involved. Whilst in this state they will eat very little and once out of brumation they will eat extra to offset this. Tenrecs are insectivores and so this should form the majority of their diet. Items such as crickets, earthworms, locusts, mealworms, roaches, slugs, snails and waxworms. The remaining 10% of their diet should consist of fruits such as apricot, banana, papaya, and peaches. Other items to offer include fruit yogurt, hard-boiled egg, pinkies and day old chicks. A pinch of a calcium supplement should be added to live food.