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Lowland Streaked Tenrec

Lowland Streaked Tenrec

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The Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is a small tenrec found in Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million kmĀ² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...


Distribution and Habitat

It is found in tropical lowland rain forest, in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...


Physical Appearance

It is a small animal, with a long snout and limbs, and a vestigal tail. Pelage black with yellow longitudinal stripes dorsally, light beneath; scattered quills, some barbed and detachable.

Length and Weight

The head and body are 4.8-6.5 inches in length. The weight is about 7 ounces.


It is active during day and night, feeding primarily upon earthworms, but sometimes as well on insects.


Breeding happens through October to December and possibly other times, depending upon local food supply and temperature. The gestation period lasts 58 days, and the female gives birth to usually between 5 and 8 young. The young are weaned at 18 to 25 days.


The shreaked tenrec lives in long, shallow burrows dug in the damp by humus and usually occupied by family groups.

Spines as tools

If threatened by a predator (most commonly a Fossa (animal)
Fossa (animal)
The fossa is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal that is endemic to Madagascar. It is a member of the Eupleridae, a family of carnivorans closely related to the mongoose family . Its classification has been controversial because its physical traits resemble those of cats, yet other traits suggest a...

 or Mongoose
Mongoose are a family of 33 living species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. Four additional species from Madagascar in the subfamily Galidiinae, which were previously classified in this family, are also referred to as "mongooses" or "mongoose-like"...

), a streaked tenrec erects the barbed quills on its back and on the crest around its head, pointing them completely forward, and drives them in to the attacker's nose or paws with body and head movements. The nonbarbed quills are clustered in the middle of the back, and produce a faint chattering sound when vibrated, and are used to communicate within family groups.


The streaked tenrec is the only mammal known to use stridulation
Stridulation is the act of producing sound by rubbing together certain body parts. This behavior is mostly associated with insects, but other animals are known to do this as well, such as a number of species of fishes, snakes and spiders...

for generating sound, a method more commonly associated with insects and arachnids.

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