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Lesser Hedgehog Tenrecs

Discussion in 'Private Collections & Pets' started by stubeanz, 19 Dec 2012.

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  1. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    There isnt much going on in the private collections part of the forum these days and so i thought i would join the few private keepers posting on here and add one of my favourite animals in my own collection.

    I have kept Lesser Hedgehog Tenrecs for a number of years and they are a fascinating animal to keep. I find they are a lot more friendly than other spiny creatures i have worked with, they tame very well and have an amazing natural history.

    I have 6 in total consisting of 2 pairs and a related male and female who are from previous years breeding and are kept sperarate. The pairs are currently brumating in the hope that they will breed around April 2013.

    It is not only the lessers that are kept privately but also, Common Tenrec(Tenrec ecaudatus), both species of Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus + Hemicentetes nigriceps) and Greater Tenrec (Setifer setosus).
    In fact all of the 5 spiny tenrec species are kept in the UK, although the Lessers are the most commonly kept.

    I've attached two pictures, one of my adults and one of a 3 month old youngster that was born earlier this year.
     

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  2. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    Nice to share your experiences. How are the Hemicentetes species doing in the UK. We had a new import in contrinental Europe earlier this year, but I know people have quite some difficulties to keep their animals in good condition.

    Lesser Hedgehog tenrecs are here as well the most kept species and the one that breeds the most easily.
     
  3. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Two lovely photos there; I have little to no interest in keeping exotics myself, but if I was to come into plenty of money and space tenrecs (and small carnivores) would be my first choice.

    Due to the private nature of private collections, and the lack of free information about what people have, there is some degree of confusion on this point; at least one of the Hemicentetes species is said to have died out in the UK, or alternatively reduced to a single unisex group.

    Of course, I have no idea which species this is, or whether this is accurate.
     
  4. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    Both species of Streaked Tenrec are kept in very small numbers, i believe the new imports from Europe made their way into the UK as well. Out of all of the spiny species the Streakeds are the hardest to keep, they are very sensitive to temperature changes and can only be fed on a diet of soft bodied inverts such as worms, wax worms etc or it could cause damage to the jaws.

    They will also only breed in large groups and have a short life span which means an initial high investment in setting up a breeding group. I hope that they will be kept by the right people looking to increase their numbers by captive breeding and not just somebody who wants an individual or a pair. I have been offered them but dont believe i have enough experiance to keep such as sensitive species.
     
  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed - a lot of species which have done badly in captivity in the past could benefit from someone willing to risk making a loss in the short term, and who is dedicated enough to get keeping the species cracked.
     
  6. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    I think it was accurate until this year when more were imported. Im sure i heard it was the Highland Streaked that died out and i knew of only 1 private breeder of Lowland streaked Tenrecs until more appeared in Continental Europe this year.

    I too have a passion for tenrecs and small carnivores, if i had enough acres and money i would love to keep various Mustelids and try to further popularise them in zoos.
     
  7. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Fascinating stuff. Let's hear more from the private collections/keepers.
    I have Bengal Eagle Owls on eggs.
     
  8. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    They were offered to a lot of people, but like you I declined for the same reasons (I have some experience with small mammals but my main focus is birds).
    I was hoping the breed with my hoodedparrots this autumn but they started moulting so that didn't work out as I planned.
     
  9. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    DDCorvus -- have you heard the true story about getting Hooded to breed at a sensible time of year, at the Keston Foreign Bird farm many years ago? If not, I can give you more details & it might just work for you.
     
  10. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    I m not familiar with the story at Keston Foreign Bird Farm so I m curious to hear. What we do in Europe is we actually use the heating pads on one side of the nestbox so although the weather is bad we actually still manage to breed them here quite succesfully.
     
  11. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting the pictures stubeanz. I have become a big tenrec fan in the past year as I have learned about how many cool convergent forms this group has with other mammal families (otters, shrews, hedgehogs, moles).

    Have there been any attempts to keep any of the non-spiny tenrec species in zoos or private captivity? We had a discussion in another thread about Gerald Durrell's attempt to keep giant otter-shrews alive in captivity, but all of them died before getting to his zoo.
     
    Last edited: 19 Dec 2012
  12. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    As far as I am aware, there have been no attempts to keep anything outside the five spiny species - at least, not within Europe.
     
  13. Rhinopithecus

    Rhinopithecus Active Member

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    Actually there were shrew tenrecs Microgale talazaci and M.dobsonii kept in Washington zoo in the 70ties and 80ties. They proved to be strangely enough long-lived and slow breeders with one or two offspring per litter.
     
  14. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    That's one of the reasons I love this group as well.
    As you have said, i only know of the giant otter-shrews kept by jersey zoo. I think any attempt to keep other tenrec species will need alot of research as there is so little known about them in the wild.

    3 out of 5 of the spiny tenrec species seem to do reasonably well in captivity, it's just the streaked that need more experienced keepers.
     
  15. DesertRhino150

    DesertRhino150 Well-Known Member

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    I know that large-eared tenrecs have been kept in captivity before and the only photograph of a Cowan's shrew tenrec that I can find is of a captive individual.
     
  16. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    DDcorvus -- Edward Boosey wrote about Hooded Parrakeets in his book 'Foreign Bird Keeping'. The problem was they would come into breeding condition in the spring and then drop into a moult without laying, waste the summer moulting & want to breed properly in the autumn when chances of rearing healthy young were poor.
    Boosey paired his hen Hooded to a proven cock Redrump, who more or less forced her to nest in the spring, and a brood of hybrids was reared. The following Spring, the hen Hooded was all ready to breed when the Redrump cock was exchanged for a male Hooded. The hen went to nest and reared a fine brood of Hooded. This all struck me as rather clever when I read it, but I don't know if anyone else has ever tried it since.
     
  17. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks FBB. My moulting problem is my own fault. I moved a pair from a non-heated aviary into a heated room (one I use for my Pyrrhura). We have in Europe 2 populations of hoodeds. One group of spring breeders and a group of autumn breeders. Both seem to produce fine. So I will keep to my own experience and not get myself a red-rumped cock :).
     
  18. Pacarana

    Pacarana Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful pictures there stubeanz! I've been extremely interested in small mammals for a long time now, just haven't gotten the chance to make a move on a lesser or greater tenrec. Really any small mammal is hard to find in NA. Our gene pool is extremely limited and most, if not all, small mammal breeding programs are full of inbred little critters.

    I have a friend who is looking for fresh pygmy mice blood but can't seem to find anyone but two other people in the states that have pygmy mice. Those two people paired up their remaining pairs and some where obtained by her. Sadly, we all know what happens when small critters inbreed... I doubt the pygmy mouse pop. in the US will make it to 2014. I hope I'm wrong though.

    At Denver Zoo, there is a lesser tenrec and greater tenrec. I was surprised to find out we hold a greater in our collection, and even more surprised that the greater came from a breeder in the States! If anything happens with small mammals here, it will be with the two tenrec species. I would love to add a greater to my collection some day.

    Thank you for suppling us with these photos! Last person with who posted there collection (of coarse was much more controversial than tenrecs) got a lot of back lash... I hope you inform us later with the progression in your work. I hope the little guys produce for you!:)
     
  19. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your kind post Pacarana. It seems greater hedgehog tenrecs are more common in north america than the lessers.

    I have some friends who breed lessers in the states and if you do decide to go for tenrecs I can put you in touch with them :)

    African Pygmy mice are another species I keep, years ago I used to have 2 breeding colonys but found inbreed was a problem and with most exotic rodents they stopped breeding. I tried to get some new bloodlines but they all seemed to be related, so now I just keep a small group of males that get along very well.
     
  20. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    All of the tenrecs have now come out of brumation and are eating more than ever!
    It has been a very unusual year because of the late snow and this seems to have affected how long they have stayed in brumation for. Last year they were almost giving birth by now!

    I hope I have attached a new photo of one of my males fresh from a long winters sleep!

    ( ps. Javan rhino, if you see this can you pm me, I tried to pm you but your inbox was full)
     

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