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Lowland streaked tenrec
Distribution and habitat
The species is found in tropical lowland rain forest, in the northern and eastern parts of Madagascar.
It is a small animal, with a long snout and limbs, and a vestigial tail. Pelage black with yellow longitudinal stripes dorsally, light beneath; scattered quills, some barbed and detachable.
Length and weight
The head and body are 4.8-6.5 inches in length. The weight is about 7 ounces.
It is active during day and night, feeding primarily upon earthworms, but also on insects.
Breeding takes place during October to December and possibly at other times, depending upon local food supply and temperature. The gestation period lasts 58 days, and the female gives birth to usually between 5 and 8 young. The young are weaned at 18 to 25 days.
The streaked tenrec lives in long, shallow burrows which are usually occupied by family groups.
Spines as tools
If threatened by a predator (most commonly a fossa or Malagasy mongoose), a streaked tenrec erects the barbed quills on its back and on the crest around its head, pointing them completely forward, and drives them in to the attacker's nose or paws with body and head movements. The nonbarbed quills are clustered in the middle of the back, and produce a faint chattering sound when vibrated, and are used to communicate within family groups.
- Simon and Schuster's Guide to Mammals