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Lesser Tenrec

The lesser tenrec is a small, spiky mammal found only in Madagascar. With its quills, stout body, and curious behavior, it belongs to the diverse family Tenrecidae. These tenrecs, named after naturalist Charles Telfair, live in Madagascar's spiny forests and grasslands. They rely on their strong sense of smell and okay eyesight to navigate. Active at night, they mostly eat insects and small invertebrates. Lesser tenrecs are known for unique behaviors like marking territory by anointing themselves with saliva. Their fascinating habits make them a captivating part of Madagascar's diverse wildlife.


  1. Enclosure: Provide a spacious cage with dimensions appropriate for your tenrec's size, considering at least 2 feet by 2 feet of floor space.

  2. Substrate: Use coconut fiber, cypress mulch, or a similar substrate that allows for digging and burrowing.

  3. Cage Accessories: Include climbing structures, branches, and platforms to create an enriching environment.

  4. Hiding Spots: Offer secure hiding spots, such as half logs or small caves, for comfort and security.

  5. Thermometer: Install a thermometer to monitor and maintain the temperature within the recommended range.

Temperature and Lighting:

  1. Heat Source: Provide a heat source, such as an under-tank heating pad or heat lamp, to maintain a temperature between 75-80°F (24-27°C).

  2. Lighting: Establish a natural light cycle with a 12-hour light and 12-hour dark period. Use a full-spectrum UVB bulb if natural sunlight exposure is limited.


  1. Insects: Keep a variety of insects, including crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and other commercially available insect options.

  2. Feeding Dish: Use shallow, sturdy dishes for offering food.

  3. Supplements: Provide calcium and vitamin supplements.


  1. Water Dish: Offer a shallow, easily accessible water dish with fresh water daily.

Enrichment and Entertainment:

  1. Toys: Introduce a variety of safe toys for mental stimulation.

  2. Climbing Structures: Include branches, ramps, and platforms to encourage physical activity.

  3. Exercise Wheel: Provide a solid-surface, appropriately sized wheel for exercise.

Social Interaction:

  1. Bonding Time: Spend time daily interacting with your tenrec to build trust. Keep interactions gentle and positive.


  1. Veterinary Care: Establish a relationship with a veterinarian experienced in exotic animals for regular check-ups and healthcare needs.

  2. First Aid Kit: Keep a basic first aid kit with items like antiseptic, sterile gauze, and tweezers for emergencies.


  1. Bonding Pouch: Use a soft bonding pouch for secure and stress-free handling sessions.

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