Fun Tailless Tenrec Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Tailless Tenrec Facts For Kids

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A member of the Chordata Phylum, the tailless tenrec, is also known as the common tenrec. The tailless tenrec is a mammal species in the Tenrecidae family and the only single member of the genus Tenrec. Known by the scientific name of Tenrec ecaudatus, the tailless tenrec is epidemic in Madagascar and is found in many other places where the tenrec species is introduced. The common tenrec is the largest land-dwelling species of the tenrec family. The medium-sized tenrecs are found mostly in humid forests, except for a few other tenrecs species.

Tenrecs are believed to have descended from a common ancestor called African otter shrews and split from them 47-53 million years ago. The tailless tenrec is the first tropical mammal to hibernate for a long time without any waking period. They usually hibernate alone and can do so for nine months at a time. When threatened, the tenrecs are known to scream, erect their spiny hairs, jump, buck, hiss, and bite.

There are millions of different types and species of mammals living in the world that we don't know about. This is a big platform to gain some knowledge about the lesser-known animals in the world.

If you enjoyed these mammals, check out the Japanese giant flying squirrel and the wallaby.

Fun Tailless Tenrec Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Vegetation, Fruits, Reptiles, Amphibians, Small Mammals, Invertebrates

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

3.3-5.5 lb (1.5-2.5 kg)

How long are they?

10-15.3 in (25.4-38.8 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Coarse Gray to Reddish-Gray Fur with Long Sharp Spines

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans, Fire

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Grasslands, Lowland Forests, Dry Savanna, Moist Montane Forests, Subtropical And Tropical Dry Forests


Africa, Madagascar









Tailless Tenrec Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tailless tenrec?

Tailless tenrecs are a species of animals that resemble shrews, hedgehogs, opossums, rats, and mice. They are known to be the descendants of otter shrews. Their scientific name is Tenrec ecaudatus.

What class of animal does a tailless tenrec belong to?

Tailless tenrecs fall under the class Mammalia from the kingdom of animals.

How many tailless tenrecs are there in the world?

The population of the tailless tenrec is not known, but the species features all over their range and are found quite commonly in their natural habitat.

Where does a tailless tenrec live?

The group of animals is native to Madagascar with the introduction of the family also in Comoros, Mauritius, Réunion, and Seychelles. The range of the family of Tenrecidae is all found in Madagascar in their own natural habitats. They can be seen all over Africa.

What is a tailless tenrec's habitat?

The natural habitat of the group of animals features subtropical or tropical dry forest, tropical moist lowland forest, moist montane forest, dry savanna, moist savanna, dry shrubland, moist shrubland, high altitude shrubland, dry lowland grassland, high altitude grassland, arable land, pastureland, plantations, rural gardens, and urban areas. They make their burrows near streams which protects them during extreme temperatures. They can also be found swimming in rice paddies during forays. They usually climb steep rock faces in search of food.

Who do tailless tenrec live with?

These are solitary creatures and forage alone. They avoid conspecifics; the only exception is between the female and her young after birth. They also hibernate alone. Only during the breeding season are males seen together fighting one another.

How long does a tailless tenrec live?

The tailless tenrec is known to live for up to 10 years in the wild. In captivity, however, the life span reduces to around six to eight years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season is from October to November. The solitary males and females are seen meeting each other in this period around October and have some brief physical contact. Both males and females have multiple partners during the breeding season. A litter of 32 young is born after a gestation period. The gestation period lasts for 50-60 days. The average litter size is between 15-20 young, but usually, 32 young are born in the nest. The little babies have a black and white striped appearance. The hoglets open their eyes in nine to 14 days and leave the nest in 40 to 50 days. Even after leaving the nest, they forage with the mother for quite some time.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List has considered the population number of common tenrec to be of Least Concern at the moment. The species is common and endemic to the region of Madagascar.

Their life is threatened by hunting in some parts of the range they live in. The burning of the range of deciduous forest also leads to loss of the natural habitat and the lives of the tailless tenrecs are threatened a lot.

Tailless Tenrec Fun Facts

What do tailless tenrecs look like?

The tailless tenrec is the largest living insectivores. The fur in the body is medium-sized and coarse grey to reddish-gray in color. They have long and sharp spines along the length of the body. The fur is not dense in the species, and they have a short tail, even after being called tailless. The body has a combination of hairs and blunt spines. The young after birth have rows of white spines along the back of the body. These get replaced in the adults with stiff long hairs. Hindlimbs are shorter than forelimbs. The female usually has 12 nipples, but more numbers have been recorded. They usually resemble shrews, hedgehogs, and opossums but are actually closely related to otter shrews. After otter shrews, they resemble other insectivores from Africa, such as golden moles and elephant shrews.

How cute are they?

They are considered very cute.

How do they communicate?

When threatened, the tailless tenrecs are known to erect their long hairs on the back and make sounds like hisses, squeaks, and squeals. They have long whiskers and sensitive hair that detect vibrations which help them to communicate. They also mark their scent by dragging their cloaca on the ground, which is used for communication during mating season.

How big is a tailless tenrec?

The length of the tailless tenrec ranges from 10-15.3 in (25.4-38.8 cm). They have a small tail of 0.39-0.59 in (1-1.5 cm) in length. They can be twice the size of a small European hedgehog.

How fast can a tailless tenrec run?

If they are threatened in an open area, the species can run pretty quickly. The speed of the tailless tenrec is unknown. The similar-looking common hedgehogs are known to have a speed of 4 mph (6.4 kph) and run in short bursts. There's even an animated character called Sonic the Hedgehog who likes to run!

How much does a tailless tenrec weigh?

The weight of the tailless tenrec ranges from 3.3-5.5 lb (1.5-2.5 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female sexes of the species of tenrec are not given different names. They are known by their scientific name of Tenrec ecaudatus or as tailless tenrec.

What would you call a baby tailless tenrec?

The young tailless tenrecs are called hoglets or simply as young.

What do they eat?

Tailless tenrecs are mostly insectivores, but sometimes they diet on fruits and vegetation too. Therefore, they have been classified as omnivores. They diet on reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals too. Their usual diet consists of invertebrates. They can detect their food with the long and sensitive whiskers and they kill with their mouth. They also hunt various insects, frogs, and mice.

Are they dangerous?

These creatures are not at all dangerous. But if threatened, they can inflict serious damage with their powerful bite.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not considered pets as they are not over-friendly. Human attention is not they crave much but do not mind being handled too. However, if mishandled, they might bite which hurts a lot.

Did you know...

In the Mauritius Islands and the Comoran Islands, the inhabitants feed on tenrec meat. Thus, hunting of the species is very popular in those regions.

They are basically insectivores, but tenrecs do not eat their babies. There have been cases of a second litter. But that only happens if the first litter dies after birth.

They are endemic to Madagascar.

Can tenrecs swim?

Tailless tenrecs are known to swim in rice paddies during the forays.

Are tenrecs related to elephants?

The tenrec looks like a hedgehog but is actually considered a close relative of elephants by scientists. DNA sequences link elephants and tenrecs to a diverse extended family. This family also includes manatees and aardvarks. The Afrotherians (elephants, aardvarks, tenrecs, golden moles, elephant shrews, and hyraxes) share an amino acid combination that is not present in other mammals.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out woolly monkey facts or eastern cottontail facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable tailless tenrec coloring pages.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

Ritwik has a bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. His degree developed his passion for writing, which he has continued to explore in his previous role as a content writer for PenVelope and his current role as a content writer at Kidadl. In addition to this, he has also completed CPL training and is a licensed commercial pilot!

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