The Story Of Wild Animals:
Story Of The Shrew
Story Of The Tenrec
Story Of The Rabbit
Story Of The Chamois
Story Of The Duckbill
Story Of The Peccary
Story Of The Linsang
Story Of The Aard-vark
Story Of The Gorilla
Story Of The Weasel
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Story Of The Tenrec
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
There lives in Madagascar an insect-eating animal which has many of the characteristics of the hedgehog. The name tenrec is given the group, which comprises several species. They are defended with spines, arid can roll themselves into a ball as the hedgehog does. I have watched the creature defend itself against the attack of a dog and do it so successfully that the dog retired howling with pain.
These animals are a great pest to the agriculturists of Madagascar, owing to the damage they inflict on the rice crops by burrowing in the earth beneath the young plants in search of worms and insects.
They pass one-half of the year is a state of torpidity. About May or June they dig themselves holes, in which' they sleep until December, with their heads comfortably tucked away between the hind legs. Their burrows are generally betrayed by the presence of a small heap of earth or moss thrown up at the entrance. The animals at this time are very fat, and are regarded as great delicacies by the natives of Madagascar. The inhabitants hunt the tenrecs with dogs, trained expressly for the purpose. They live chiefly in the mountains, in places covered with mosses, ferns and bushes. Their food consists principally of earthworms, which they rout out by means of their feet and pointed snouts, using the latter after the fashion of a pig. Insects also, form a part of their diet ; and like the hedgehogs, they feed upon certain fruits and roots. In captivity they will eat raw meat, and are also said to be fond of bananas. They sleep nearly all the day, and come forth in full activity only at night.
The true tenrecs have a body much longer than the hedge-hogs, and their bristles are less rigid, the spines being-covered with soft, silky hair. The head is shaped like that of the pouched animals. It is found not only in Madagascar, but also in the-islands of Bourbon and Maurice, but it was probably carried to the latter island by the colonists. It is tailless, about twelve inches long, and of a fawn color. The second species has rather strong prickles, and is of a grayish-black color.
The spines of the tenrec are like stiff pointed bristles, and are by no means so strong as those of the hedgehog.