Lowland Streaked Tenrec Facts
- The bizarre-looking Lowland Streaked Tenrec forms an extraordinarily unique species of Tenrec. The species has also developed several completely unique attributes
- Remarkably, it remains the only known mammal to generate sound by stridulation. Mothers use this as a means of communicating with their young.
- Also, it serves as the only known species of tenrec to be active by both day and night. All other tenrecs only become active at night. This serves to give them a competitive edge.
- Lastly, this ranks as the only known tenrec to live in groups. It also tends to remain with its family, living in groups of as many as twenty individuals.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec Physical Description
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec forms a rather diminutive animal. Mature adults attain an average length of head and body of about 6.5 in (16.5 cm). It also stays quite light, rarely exceeding 7 oz (200 grams) in weight.
Its snout grows rather elongated, while the tail appears vestigial. The head, back, and sides appear black, with long yellow stripes. The underbelly typically displays a chestnut brown and covered with soft fur.
Yet the rest of the body is covered with numerous long, sharp quills. It is also important to note that some of these develop as barbed and detachable, and used in defense.
In fact, these seem most numerous on the crown of the head. Also, it is the remarkable quills that are used for stridulation.
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec rubs these together to generate a unique sound. This sound is so low-pitched that it is below the threshold of human hearing.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec inhabits a rather limited range. The species is found throughout less than half of the island of Madagascar, near Africa. Its range consists almost entirely of lowland (hence the name) tropical rainforest.
Consequently, in the loose soil, it typically constructs long, shallow burrows in which to dwell. These are also rarely more than 6 in (15 cm) beneath the surface.
The species is primarily insectivorous, but will also consume worms and fruit.
Its principal predators include the Fossa and the Malagasy Mongoose. Attacking the nose and paws of a predator with the quills is its only defensive strategy.
Breeding usually occurs between October and December. An average litter consists of 5-8 young.
Sadly, its lifespan remains short, averaging less than 2.5 years.