Back to Tenrec Resources and InformationProgress report on the breeding of pigmy hedgehog tenrec Echinops telfairi and spiny hedgehog tenrec Setifer setosus
By ANN SCALING, Small Mammal Section, Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust.
The Trust has had various species of Tenrec in its collection since 1966. An article by J. J. C. Mallinson appeared in the Trust's Fifth Annual Report, (1968), on the Tenrec collection at that time. This included details of accomodation and dietary requirements. However, since then a considerable amount of breeding has taken place with both the Pigmy Hedgehog Tenrec Echinops telfairi, and the Spiny Hedgehog Tenrec Setifer setosus and in 1971 successful second generation births were recorded in both species.
The general care and maintenance of the Tenrec collection has remained almost unchanged. A liquid calcium supplementation in the form of Callo-Cal-D has been added to their diet in order to ensure that the infants absorb sufficient calcium before and after weaning. Since the establishment last year of cultures of two cricket species: the House Cricket Gryllus domesticus, and the Field Cricket Gryllus campestris, this extra source of animals protein has been available to the tenrecs, they are also fed with mealworms every day.
BREEDING - Pigmy Hedgehog Tenrec - Echinops telfairi
TABLE ONE - RECORD OF BIRTHS.
|6th August, 1967||1||4||4|
|28th August, 1967||1||2||1|
|19th July, 1968||2||8||8|
|6th July, 1969||3||12||3|
|10th July, 1970||1||5||3|
|27th June, 1971||2||5||4|
|11th July, 1971||1||3||3|
|1st September, 1971||1||3||3|
The parents of the three second generation infants were born here, the female on the 10th July, 1970 and the male on the 18th July, 1968. Taking the establishment gestation period as approximately seven weeks, the young reach sexual maturity at the age of one year.
It is interesting to note that Tenrecs, in the wild state, mate at the beginning of the Austral summer, having their young between January - March. As can be seen in table one, the twelve births recorded in Jersey were all born in the European summer, between the months of June and September.
TABLE TWO - WEIGHT DEVELOPMENT - PIGMY HEDGEHOG TENREC Echinops telfairi
|Age in Days||Weight in grams|
|27||50 50 50|
|51||120 120 120|
|84||180 150 150|
|121||170 160 160|
|159||160 142 140|
|193||150 130 130|
|221||155 130 130|
All the tenrecs are weighed each month, this is very important as in winter when they go into torpor a close check is kept on each tenrec to make sure they are not losing to much weight.
BREEDING - Spiny Hedgehog Tenrec - Setifer setosus
TABLE THREE - RECORD OF BIRTHS
|13th November, 1968||3||3|
|8th January, 1969||2||1|
|8th May, 1969||4||2|
|20th January, 1970||2||0|
|29th April, 1970||1||1|
|30th June, 1971||5||2|
|15th August, 1971||2||0|
|8th October, 1971||2||1|
In comparison with the Pigmy Hedgehog Tenrec, the Spiny Hedgehog Tenrec is much more sensitive to any disturbance caused at or after the time of birth so the male is always removed before parturition occurs, but even after this precaution has been taken, some of the mothers have eaten part or all of their litter of young. As can be observed from table three the Spiny Hedgehog Tenrec unlike the Pigmy Hedgehog Tenrec, has been recorded as giving birth between the months January to November. This year, for the first time, two females born in the Trust's collection have bred, the first to give birth was paired with an original male and the second female to a Jersey born male. So this year we have been successful in breeding both Pigmy Hedgehog Tenrec and Spiny Hedgehog Tenrec second generation infants.
In 1968 when the first Spiny Hedgehog Tenrec was bred here the gestation period was believed to be between 65-69 days. Since then, as can be seen from the chart below we have narrowed the time down to 51 days from the day the male was first introduced with the female to the time of parturition.
TABLE FOUR - RECORD OF GESTATION PERIODS - SPINY HEDGEHOG TENREC Setifer setosus
|Date of observed copulation
or possible conception
|13th September, 1968||13th November, 1968||61|
|13th November, 1968||8th January, 1969||56|
|13th March, 1969||8th May, 1969||56|
|26th November, 1969||20th January, 1970||56|
|* 7th May, 1971||30th June, 1971||55|
|* 18th June, 1971||15th August, 1971||58|
|* 18th August, 1971||8th October, 1971||51|
* denotes date of introduction of male with female.
TABLE FIVE - WEIGHT DEVELOPMENT - SPINY HEDGEHOG TENREC Setifer setosus
|Age in days||Weight in grams|
|21||52 50 49|
|23||55 51 50|
|28||61 57 53|
|35||80 77 62|
|43||105 93 90|
|49||117 116 93|
|56||129 115 102|
|63||156 118 105|
|70||201 132 112|
|77||210 141 140|
|84||247 158 142|
|91||258 183 156|
|98||266 203 188|
|112||282 240 232|
|119||350 268 201|
During the past two years surplus Jersey bred specimens of both species have been sent to the Zoological Society of London, and to the Amsterdam Zoo, Holland. Six new glass fronted cages have been added to the Tenrec range in the Small Mammal House and sufficient numbers of both species can be accomodated so that viable breeding populations can be maintained.
EISENBERG, J. F., & GOULD, E., The Tenrecs: A study in Mammalian Behaviour and Evolution. (Free Full Text) (Alternative Free Full Text)
MALLINSON, J. J. C., Conservation of Madagascan Fauna in Captivity (Fifth Annual Report). Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. (Free Full Text)
The Trust's filing index on the progress of each Tenrec.
Back to the top
Back to Tenrec Resources and Information