Tenrec vs Hedgehog: A Closer Look at Two Spiky Creatures

Spiky creatures in the animal kingdom often catch people’s attention due to their unique appearances and intriguing behaviors. Tenrec vs hedgehog is some of the common options in this group that are similar in some aspects but have fascinating differences.

Here is a look at Tenrec vs Hedgehog to help you distinguish them better.

Physical Characteristics:

Hedgehogs are small, nocturnal mammals with round bodies covered in sharp spines. These spines are modified hairs that protect them against potential threats. Their legs are short, have small faces, and have a very keen sense of smell. They exist in different species and sizes, with the European hedgehog being one of the most popular.

Hedgehogs vs Tenrec, on the other hand, are spiky mammals whose native land is Madagascar and parts of Africa. Due to their spines, they have a superficial resemblance to hedgehogs but belong to a different class of mammals. They exist in various appearances and sizes, from small shrew-like tenrecs to larger hedgehog-sized species.

Natural Habitats: Tenrec vs Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are mainly found in Asia, Europe, and Africa as inhabitants of various environments, including grasslands, woodlands, urban areas, and gardens. They can quickly adapt to their environment and are used to making their homes in undergrowth, shrubs, or human-made structures like compost heaps.

Conversely, tenrecs are mainly found in Madagascar, an island renowned for its diverse and unique wildlife. They inhabit various environments like deserts, highlands, and rainforests. Their ability to adapt quickly allows them to survive in different regions.

Behavior & Diet:

Hedgehogs are omnivorous, with a diet of fruits, plants, small vertebrates, and insects. Their keen sense of smell makes locating their sense of food easy. These nocturnal animals are also solitary, as they prefer to forage and roam at night. When alarmed or threatened, hedgehogs curl into a tight ball and expose their spines as a defensive mechanism.

Hedgehogs are omnivorous, with a diet of fruits, plants

On the contrary, depending on their species, tenrecs exhibit various behaviors and diets. Some feed on insects and other invertebrates, while others consume vegetation, fruits, small vertebrates, and insects. Some tenrec species have specialized diets, like feeding on nectar or earthworms.

Taxonomy: Tenrec vs Hedgehog

Hedgehogs belong to the family Erinaceidae and are classified within the order Eulipotyphla. This order also has other insectivorous mammals like shrews and moles, which have a common ancestry. The evolutionary lineage of hedgehogs places them alongside other insectivores and highlights how they can adapt to a diet mainly made of insects and other invertebrates.

On the other hand, Tenrecs belong to the family Tenrecidae and are within the order Afrosoricida. This order comprises a unique assembly of small mammals in Madagascar and parts of Africa. Tenrecs in this order exhibit a remarkably diverse nature of diet, physical characteristics, and behavior. Some tenrecs also have egg-laying reproductive strategies, highlighting their distinct evolutionary trajectory.

Spine Characteristics:

Hedgehogs have rigid, sharp spines and modified hairs that are densely packed across their bodies. The spines act as a defensive mechanism and effective deterrent due to their sharpness.

On the other hand, Tenrecs have spines that are notably softer and more flexible than those of hedgehogs. Even if tenrecs have spines for protection, they cannot curl into a ball like hedgehogs. Instead, when threatened, tenrecs use their spines as a warning display, making them appear more intimidating and larger.


Hedgehog vs Tenrec are two distinct groups of spiky creatures that have also captured the fascination of scientists and wildlife enthusiasts. Even if they share some similarities in appearance, they are biologically different and have adapted to diverse lifestyles and habits. These two creatures serve as a reminder of the mysteries and wonders of the animal kingdom, where even creatures that appear similar at a glance can display a vast set of differences upon closer inspection.