Tenrecs are insectivores which occur both in Madagascar and Western and Central mainland Africa. There are around 35 species in Madagascar and at least six occur in Andasibe.
The Common Tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus) is, as its name suggests, fairly common and found throughout the island, including Andasibe. It is the largest tenrec, bigger than a common brown rat, and can be seen during the day or night though it is primarily nocturnal. Extraordinary for a mammal, they have been known to give birth to as many as 32 young!
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is perhaps the most striking, with elegant black and white stripes down its spined back. Often they can be heard before they are seen, clicking their spines in a raspy rattle to warn you of their presence. They form burrows, often near small streams, and here they give birth to around half a dozen or more young.
The Greater Hedgehog Tenrec (Setifer setosus) is the other spined species in Andasibe. Unlike the Lowland Streaked Tenrec, it is rather drab in appearance. When threatened they may curl into a ball.
The genus Microgale is commonly called Shrew Tenrecs. At first appearance they may be confused with the likely exotic true shrews (Suncus spp.) which also are found in Madagascar. Of the 35 or so species of tenrecs, more than 20 are Shrew Tenrecs, and in Andasibe we have at least one species, likely more, but they are not often encountered and when they are often misidentified.
The final two species of tenrec in Andasibe have only rarely been encountered. The Aquatic Tenrec (Limnogale mergulus) has webbed feet and inhabits rivers, where they may be mistaken for rats, while the Mole-like Rice Tenrec (Oryzorictes hova) lives a fossorial existence mainly underground.
Madagascar has an interesting diversity of rats and mice. Perhaps the best known is the Giant Jumping Rat (Hypogeomys antimena) which is restricted to a tiny remaining piece of habitat in the west, but the area around Andasibe also supports some interesting less known rodents.
There are at least three species of Eliurus in Andasibe. Commonly known as Tuft-tailed Rats, they are nocturnal and can be seen climbing branches and vines in the forest on night hikes.
The Voalavoanala (Gymnuromys roberti) is terrestrial and found in forests at night, with a white belly and gray dorsal side, while the two Brachytarsomys species in Andasibe look much like voles and live underground.
If you wish to view the unique rodents of Andasibe, it is important to search at night when they are active and can be seen in the forest.
Madagascar supports at least two dozen endemic species of bats. Unfortunately, the bats of Andasibe do not receive much attention from visitors and tend to be overlooked compared to the other fauna, even though as many as 21 species have been recorded in the area.
Madagascar Flying Foxes (Pteropus rufus) can be seen in the thousands north of Moramanga roosting in fruit trees, while perhaps the best bat experience of Andasibe can be had in the village.
The attic of the post office is home to a large bat roost and is conveniently located next to a small shop that sells beverages. Watching the bats come out at sunset while sitting on a bench outside with a cold Three Horses Beer in hand is an experience not to be missed, whether you like bats or not!
Tenrecs, Rodents, and Bats of Andasibe
|Tenrec ecaudatus||Common Tailless Tenrec|
|Setifer setosus||Greater Hedgehog Tenrec|
|Hemicentetes semispinosus||Lowland Streaked Tenrec|
|Oryzorictes hova||Mole-like Rice Tenrec|
|Microgale spp.||Shrew Tenrecs|
|Limnogale mergulus||Aquatic Tenrec|
|Eliurus majori||Major’s Tufted-tailed Rat|
|Eliurus tanala||Tanala Tufted-tailed Rat|
|Eliurus webbi||Webb’s Tufted-tailed Rat|
|Eliurus petteri?||Petter’s Tufted-tailed Rat|
|Brachytarsomys albicauda||White-tailed Rat|
|Brachyuromys betsileoensis||Betsileo Short-tailed Rat|
|Brachyuromys ramirohitra||Gregarious Short-tailed Rat|
|Monticolomys koopmani?||Koopman’s Mountain Mouse|
|Nesomys rufus||Island Mouse|
|Voalavo antsahabensis?||Eastern Voalavo|
|Pteropus rufus||Flying Fox|
|Eidolon dupreanum||Madagascar Fruit Bat|
|Emballonura atrata||Peters’s Sheath-Tailed Bat|
|Taphozous mauritianus||Mauritian Tomb Bat|
|Myzopoda aurita||Madagascar Sucker-footed Bat|
|Chaerephon atsinanana||Madagascan Free-tailed Bat|
|Mops midas||Midas Free-tailed Bat|
|Mormopterus jugularis||Peter’s Wrinkle-lipped Bat|
|Otomops madagascariensis||Madagascar Free-tailed Bat|
|Tadarida fulminans||Large Free-tailed Bat|
|Miniopterus egeri||Eger’s Long-fingered Bat|
|Miniopterus gleni||Glen’s Long-fingered Bat|
|Miniopterus majori||Major’s long-fingered Bat|
|Miniopterus manavi?||Manavi Long-fingered Bat|
|Miniopterus sororculus?||Sorocula Long-fingered bat|
|Myotis goudoti||Malagasy Mouse-eared Bat|
|Neoromicia matroka?||Malagasy Serotine|
|Scotophilus robustus||Robust Yellow Bat|