Echinops telfairi (Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec)

Tenrec Diet

Around 90% of your tenrec's diet should be live insects. Tenrecs can be hugely picky over food, so it is important to vary the food offered to avoid selective feeding. For the live insects, you can use large reptile feeding tongs and buy food bowls designed to prevent insect escapees. Some tenrecs will be happy to be fed via the tongs and it's a useful skill to train them in, as it helps to coax a reluctant tenrec to feed and to monitor their calcium intake if dusting their insects. Tenrecs need added calcium and vitamin and mineral supplements. Calcium can be dusted on livefood or added via drops to the water.

As your Tenrecs approach torpor they will begin the eat less. On milder days they may awake to eat and drink so dry food and water should be kept constantly available. Some tenrecs may eat and drink very little over these months. If it is their first torpor it is important to monitor their weight, as some smaller tenrecs may not weigh enough to survive a full torpor. Some keepers choose to increase heat for younger or underweight tenrecs to increase the times they may awake for brief feeding during the winter months.


Should always be available and changed daily. Tenrecs prefer bowls and calcium drops can be added to their water.

Kibble/Cat biscuits

A high protein and high fat dry kitten food should be left constantly in your tenrec's cage. Tenrecs will typically only eat this if there are no live insects available but it's important to always supply this.


Mealworms, morio worms, crickets, earthworms, locusts, roaches, slugs, snails and waxworms are all good choices and can be dusted with a calcium supplement before offering. Tenrecs are very individual in their preferences and it is good to have multiple feeding bowls if you have multiple girls in your cage to avoid one dominating food. Waxworms are high in fat and should be fed in smaller quantities than others. You can also get calciworms which have a higher calcium content than other insects.

Meat & Protein

Turkey, chicken, and mince are all good options for your Tenrecs. They also like pinkies and day-old chicks. Scrambled or boiled eggs are also popular. Do not offer food that has any additional spice or sauce and make sure you remove it after the evening to avoid spoilage.


Tenrecs also enjoy many fruits, such as banana, papaya, peach and apricot.