Many animals that are found only in Madagascar are extremely rare. The streaked Tenrec is one of the 31 species that are most highly specialized. They are part of the hedgehog tencres and have spines similar to hedgehogs. The spines may not be completely authentic. It is a bristly fur with spines that protrude in the neck, back and head. The yellow-black striped fur pattern is a hallmark of the Lowland Streaked Tenrec, Hemicentetes semispinosus. This species is found only along Madagascar's east coast. However, it can be found in rainforests and small areas of forest near rice fields. It has even been known to conquer some areas that are inhabited by humans. The Andringitra Mountains form the southern border of this deposit. Anjanaharibe South National Parks make up the northern border.
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The streaked tenrec is large-handed and has long feet. It burrows one hand under the ground to find a place for sleep. The sleeping area is covered in grasses and undergrowth. The exit is surrounded by a toilet. This serves as an outer latrine. Who wants to be next to their legacy? The burrow is cleaned out by the streaked Tenrec every two weeks to provide potential predators with as few opportunities as possible for a successful haul.
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Fossa, ring-tailed monkeygoose and ringtail mongoose are the most formidable enemies of the streaked Tenrec. The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is not like other tenrecs and cannot curl into a spiky ball for protection. It will place its spines on the neck and head, creating a mohawk-like hairstyle. The tenrec will attack if the opponent doesn't retreat and then bounce headfirst towards them. The spines are small and have sharp barbs that can be drilled into the skin of an attacker. The spines that are thrown back always grow back so the streaked Tenrec can quickly be fully equipped for the next attacker.
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Only the spines can be grown back by the stridulation or stridulation organ. There is an area on the back with thicker spines that can be rubbed against one another, making quiet sounds. The noises made by streaked Tenrecs can be heard for many metres as they communicate with their family through the forest. Their sense of smell is extremely developed and their eyes are very small. In order to locate their echo, streaked Tenrecs make clicks with their tongues.
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The night falls when streaked Tenrecs are active and leave their burrow to search for earthworms or, less often, larvae in the dense forest floor foliage. They eat a portion of their body weight in food over the course of the night. They are active in the morning and then they sleep most of the night.
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The social behavior of streaked Tenrecs changes dramatically with the rainy season, which begins in October. He was a lonely man before now. But, now, distant friends and families have formed small colonies. It's time to look after the future! There is no better way to make the right choice than when all the local streaked tenrecs come together. After a quick sniffing ritual, the choice of a partner can be made quickly. The females become pregnant after about two months. However, unlike other tenrecs mothers, the father of the young is still responsible for the care and rearing of the child.
A litter can contain up to 11 young - a remarkable number for such an adorable animal. The tenrec mother is also more equipped than average mammal. They have 20 teats, which gives them enough room at the milk bar to produce large litters. They are rapidly developing. At nine days old, they are blind and naked when they are born. The first generation of young is sexually mature within four to five weeks. This is a remarkable maturity that one can see under most mammals, including mice. The well-stretched tenrecs are able to multiply in the rainy seasons and attain maximum weights up to 220g with a 15 cm body length. The animals are only two years old.
Another peculiarity of the streaked Tenrec is when the dry season begins to return in May. Their body temperature will drop to just below the ambient temperature. This allows them to save valuable energy. They hibernate at a specific temperature just like other tenrecs.
The rainy season is the best time to spot a Lowland Streaked Tenrec in the national parks Andasibe-Mantadia and the nearby reserves Mitsinjo and V.O.I.M.A. Maromizaha, as well as the reserve Akanin’ny Nofy. They are not endangered because they are quite common. Be careful not to touch the spines. If you approach these tiny guys too fast, your hands could be damaged.
Madagascar is home to the endemic Tenrec. This unusual group of insectivores is quite diverse. Tenrecinae look like a hybrid of a shrew, hedgehog and shrew. Their snouts have a long, pointed shape while their coat has spines. Two main characteristics distinguish the Lowland-strung tenrecs: The first is a long, black-colored nose that is more than the one of smaller insectivores such as mice or hedgehogs. The second feature is the black colored coat with yellow stripes and bright yellow spine Crests. These crests act as self defense against predators and are visible over their heads.
Lifestyle and Habits
Lowland streaked Tenrec is the only species of sociable tenrec, and it gathers in groups. These tenrecs form family units of up to 20 animals in groups. These diurnal animals can both forage alone or in small groups. They conserve heat during winter (May-October), by keeping their body temperature at the same temperature as the air while remaining active. They hibernate when the temperature drops too low. Lowland tenrecs nest in fixed burrows near water. The nest's entrance is usually near their latrines, which are often hidden under leaves. Group members dig burrows that are connected to each other and form a complex system of burrows. The communication between members of a group is done by stridulating specific quills. Tenrecs will raise their quills around their neck when threatened. They will often try to pinch the opponent with their quills if threatened. This is usually accompanied by violent bucking.
We don't know much about this species' reproductive system. It is known that males engage in fights during mating season to attract females. Lowland tenrecs usually mate between September and December. Gestation lasts 55-63 days and produces 2 - 11 young. The average litter size is 5 - 8. Lowland male tenrecs take care of their young. At 18 to 25 days of age, weaning takes place. This species is the only one that allows females to reach sexual maturity before they are 25 days old.
These tenrecs, along with other Madagascar animals, are most at risk from loss of their natural habitat due to continuous deforestation. This species is also hunted for its food.
The Lowland streaked Tenrec, according to IUCN is extremely widespread and common throughout its range. However, no estimate of its overall population is available. The current population trend for this species is not known. They are classified as Least Concern (LC), on the IUCN Red List.
Fun Facts of Streaked Tenrec
- These animals make 'crunch' or 'putt-putt’ sounds when they spot a predator. Meanwhile, the long hairs on the back of the predator become stiff and raise and poke the victim. The predator will retreat, and the tenrec will flee.
- The spines of the newborn Lowland tenrecs are missing in Lowland babies, and they begin to develop them as soon as possible after birth.
- The streaked Tenrec is the only mammal that practices stridulation. This is when an animal rubs parts of its body together to make a sound. This is more common in snakes and insects. If a baby tenrec is lost, it will rub its spines together and emit a certain noise that will help it find its mother.
- These animals use tongue-clicking to avoid intruders, along with stridulation. Although it is possible they may use echolocation, this theory has yet to be proven.
- The Lowland streaked Tenrec can bounce slightly when touched. It will thrust its quills at the intruder.
- The animal's underbelly is much more soft than the hard quills at its back.
- The crown is made of yellow quills that are attached to the head of the Lowland-stripped tenrec. To repel intruders, it raises its quills. It will attack its opponent with its head-butt if it is threatened.
- This species is closely related with the highland streaked Tenrec, which lives in the central upland areas of Madagascar.
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