2021 journal article
BREEDING AND NEONATAL REARING PRACTICES AND CHALLENGES IN LESSER HEDGEHOG TENRECS (ECHINOPS TELFAIRI) IN NORTH AMERICAN ZOOS
JOURNAL OF ZOO AND WILDLIFE MEDICINE, 52(1), 315–319.
The unique reproductive and energetic features of lesser hedgehog tenrecs (Echinops telfairi) have been intensively studied in the field and within laboratory settings, but information on their propagation in zoological settings is limited. Based on a survey sent to zoological institutions currently housing reproductively active lesser hedgehog tenrecs in North America, this study reports on husbandry, veterinary practices, and demographics of reproducing lesser hedgehog tenrecs and their offspring. All 14 zoological institutions in the Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec Species Survival Plan who bred tenrecs within the last 12 years responded to the online survey. Provision of a nest box, nesting material, and a diet consisting of a commercial insectivore diet, insects, and produce was found in the majority of institutions, in addition to the practice of separating the breeding male and female before parturition. From the 24 dams representing 39 pregnancies and 158 young included in this study, the median calculated litter size was four young per litter. The median age of primiparity was 2.25 yr, and the oldest female to reproduce successfully was 10 yr old. The young had an overall rate of survival to weaning of 83%. A maternal complication rate of 26% and maternal mortality rate of 5% highlights the importance of veterinary care in periparturient dams, especially for detection and treatment of dystocia. These data provide guidance to zoological institutions breeding lesser hedgehog tenrecs.