A yellow streaked tenrec in Madagascar


Tenrecs are a remarkable family of mammals that has recently been shown to share a common ancestry with aardvarks, elephants and sea cows. They have diversified to include members resembling hedgehogs, mice and even otters. They occupy an equally varied array of habitats, but are most numerous and diverse on the island of Madagascar, with a few of the 30 species dotted around the African mainland. Tenrecs were first filmed by Sir David Attenborough for the 1960s Zoo Quest series and more recently the lowland streaked tenrec was caught on camera for his 2010 Madagascar series.

Did you know?
Among mammals it’s a species of tenrec that holds the record for most babies in one go, having as many as 36 in a litter.

Scientific name: Tenrecidae

Rank: Family

Common names:


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The Tenrecs can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Madagascar. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Afrosoricida
  6. Tenrecs

BBC News about Tenrecs

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  • David Attenborough's Madagascar David Attenborough's Madagascar

    Like nowhere else on Earth, the mystery and magic of Madagascar leaves a vivid impression on all those who visit, and none more so than David Attenborough.