Growing up you believe the world is meant to be the way it is. The older I get the more I realise that this is not the case. The world is full of injustices and atrocities that governments and the voice of faith expect us to accept, though with each passing year they grow fewer and fewer, at least one would hope. I have created this blog as a space for me to rant about all things science, politics, philosophy and religion, before it’s too late and the vessel of new atheism propelled by a growing surge in secularism solves all of the world’s problems for good.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Animal of the week: The Madagascan Tenrecs

So I thought it might be cool if I wrote up a little article about a specific animal or group of animals each week and list some unusual or interesting facts about them.


I'm going to start with this awesome family of animals called Tenrecs from Madagascar. I watched a documentary on them tonight narrated by David Attenborough

The Madagascan Tenrecs

Streaked Tenrec 

-       Unlike other placental mammals they have a single opening for their anus and urogenital tracts called a cloaca.

-       They have a low body temperature, which means they don’t require a scrotum to cool their sperm like most mammals.

-       Most species of Tenrecs are noctural though they have poor eyesight, but incredibly sensitive whiskers and sense of smell.

-       Unlike most mammals, their permanent dentition only completely erupts well after they reach adult body size. This trait they share with elephants, hyraxes, sengis and golden moles, which is consistent with Tenrecs sharing a common ancestor with these animals.

-       The Common Tenrec can have up to 32 young in a single litter, and females have up to 29 teats, both these numbers are the highest for any mammal.

-   Offspring become independent after only a month.

-   Some species are social and live in family groups consisting of multiple generations with more than 12 individuals.

-       When foraging for food with her young, The Striped Tenrec mother is able to communicate her location to her young by clicking together quills located along her spine. The young hear the high pitch sound and never get lost even with their poor eyesight.


Here's a video showing a mother using her quills to call back one of her lost young.


See also: 
http://www.wildmadagascar.org/wildlife/tenrecs.html
http://animal.discovery.com/fansites/caught/conservation/madagascar.html
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/SmallMammals/fact-tenrec.cfm

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