Lowland Streaked Tenrec

The Lowland Streaked Tenrec, (Hemicentetes semispinosus), is a species of mammal in the Tenrecidae family. It is endemic to Madagascar. Its habitat is tropical lowland rain forest in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar.

This small tenrec is about 4.8 to 6.5 inches in length and weighs about 7 ounces. It has a long snout and limbs, and a vestigal (seemingly useless) tail. It is black with yellow longitudinal stripes dorsally, light-colored beneath. Its has scattered quills, some of which are barbed and detachable.

When threatened by a possible predator, most commonly by a Mongoose or Fossa, this tenrec will erect the barbed quills on its back an on the crest around its head, pointing them completely forward, and drives them into the attacker’s nose or paws with body and head movements. The non-barbed quills are clustered in the middle of the back and produce a faint chattering sound when vibrated. These quills are often used to communicate with others in the social structure.

The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is the only mammal known to use stridulation (rubbing together of body parts) for generating sound. This method is more commonly associated with snakes and insects.

The diet of this mammal consists of earthworms and insects. It actively forages during the day and night. The shelter is a long, shallow burrow dug in the damp humus and is usually occupied by family groups. Breeding occurs from October to December and possibly at other times during the year, depending on the local food supply and temperature. Gestation lasts 58 days, and the female gives birth to between 5 and 8 young. Young are weaned at 18 to 25 days.