Tenrecs are a small mammal from Madagascar, although they do look similar to Hedgehogs they are in no way related. They are actually closely related to Aardvarks and even Elephants! Tenrecs are a small animal with aboreal hands and feet, which make them excellent climbers. They eat mealworms, superworms, crickets, dubia roaches and a staple diet of a quality cat food.
During the winter months Tenrecs go into a type of Hibernation, called Torpor, where their body slows down. They will eat less, and sleep much of the time. It can be quite alarming if you are a Hedgehog owner where Hibernation can mean death.
Tenrecs are less defensive than Hedgehogs and seem to enjoy being handled and seem much more social. They can ball up, but rarely due, where Hedgehogs tend to pop and hiss when upset, Tenrecs are more likely to just bite. Although that is very rare if you have a well socialized Tenrec that has been handled often.
Interaction should be daily , but can be as simple as them sitting with you watching tv or while your online.
Tenrecs can be housed in 105 qt Sterlite Bins or cages with horizontal bars with 1/2" spacing for climbing like a Critter Nation. I have never used used bins before and from my research the Tenrec was not nearly as active or social as she/he was once in a bigger cage.
Critter Nation cages can be bought from Petco, Petsmart or Amazon for around $150.00 . For one Tenrec you would only need the single size. Although, given a double , they will climb all over and make use of it! Most importantly they need to be able to climb. The use of driftwood helps keep their nails trim to the proper length.
They also enjoy a wheel, I use a Carolina Storm Express Wheel, and also a 10" Wire wheel made for mice or rats. Since Tenrecs are Aboreal they use the wire wheel more as a climbing toy and not as much of a running wheel, its perfectly safe due to their unique feet. (Unlike for a hedgehog)
My boy will run on the wire wheel more than the CSE, but some perfer the CSE, and some will use both. If you are putting them in a Critter Nation, you would have room for both, I suggest doing this so they have the option for both!
You will need some sort of hide for them. I use fleece liners and have a snuggle sacks, and drift wood as well as reptile type hides (i.e. A hollow cork log) They love to squeeze into the smallest spots to sleep. For bedding you may use, Fleece, Eco-Bedding, Carefresh, Clean N' Kozy, Aspen, or Pine (pellets as well) I love using fleece and I put pine pellets in litter pans under the whelp as well as with a hose for options.
Tenrecs use sand to bathe themselves (unlike a hedgehog which it is bad for their respiratory system) I usually give them the bath using Reptile Sand 3 or 4x a week, and leave it in there a few hours. (Sometimes overnight as they are nocturnal as well) Luckily, Tenrecs also will usually pick one spot to use the bathroom. You can't "litter train" them exactly, but once you they pick a spot, they usually stick to it!
A good quality cat food is recommeneded for them as a staple diet to be kept in their cage at all times. I use Royal Canin Babycat hard kibble mixed with purina one beyond sensitive systems.
They also MUST be fed insects fresh daily. I feed them Mealworms or superworms daily , and then 3 -4 times a week I will throw in Waxworms for variety. (Some also like Calci worms, Dubai cockroaches, hornworms, etc) Insects need to be dusted with Repti-Cal 2x per week to insure they are getting proper calcium in their diet Insects typically should be given in a bowl, or with tongs, they have poor eyesight and can easily mistake your fingers for a worm! (Believe me you don't want this to happen, their bite can be pretty nasty!)
Fresh water must be available at all times and only in a bowl.
Torpor lasts between 4 and 6 months during the winter months (September-October through February-March). And is natural for them to go through unlike a hedgehog. It is triggered by lower temps and the seasonal change.
During torpor it causes tenrecs to have an extremely reduced activity and food intake. Their body temp. drops and their bodies metabolism begins to slow down. They will feel cool to the touch. They will be sleepy and slow if they wake up. Some will eat a little every few days.
You can handle your tenrec during torpor, they will just sleep or cuddle on you. They may wake up a little and roam but will go back to being sleepy pretty quickly.
Daily handling should be done to keep them socialized and used to interactions with people. They are a solitary animal, but do thrive on regular play and love from their owners. They develop a bond with their owners and strive on them. They make excellent little companions and love to climb around and explore, but keep a close eye as they can squeeze themselves into smaller spaces as they are small!
They are nocturnal, just like a hedgehog and will be most active at night, but can be handled during the day (they will prefer to snuggle up and sleep early in the day)
Tenrecs love to climb. They have cute toes with claws on their feet, and can grip on pretty much any surface!
Although tenrecs have do have quills, they are usually lay flat. They don't raise their quills like a hedgehog does, unless when they first wake up) They can curl into a ball, but don't usually do. They can bite, and will if they are scared or stressed. But it doesn't happen very often as they aren't defensive or shy, but more calm and loving
(Any similarities to any other websites is due to the factual nature of the information being provided).