Mammals of Andasibe Part 2 of 2 – Tenrecs, Bats, and Rodents

Tenrecs

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 is commonly encountered around Andasibe. They make a rattling sound with their spines to warn predators and often are heard before they are seen.

The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is commonly encountered around Andasibe. They make a rattling sound with their spines to warn predators and often are heard before they are seen.

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.

Shrew Tenrecs are not often encountered and when they are may be misidentified as rodents rather than tenrecs.

Shrew Tenrecs are not often encountered and when they are may be misidentified as rodents rather than tenrecs.

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 Mole-like Rice Tenrec lives underground and is rarely observed.

The Mole-like Rice Tenrec lives underground and is rarely observed.

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.

Rodents

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.

Eliurus_sp

Not all rats are ugly. Madagascar’s rodent diversity is impressive and a number of species can be observed in Mitsinjo’s forests at night.  Here is an example of a Tuft-tailed Rat. “Eliurus sp.” by Frank.Vassen – http://www.flickr.com/photos/42244964@N03/4023100110/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Bats

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

Afrotheria:
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
Rodentia:
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
Gymnuromys roberti Voalavoanala
Monticolomys koopmani? Koopman’s Mountain Mouse
Nesomys rufus  Island Mouse
Voalavo antsahabensis? Eastern Voalavo
Chiroptera:
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
Chaerephon jobimena Bat
Mops leucostigma 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
Neoromicia robertsi? Bat
Scotophilus robustus Robust Yellow Bat
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One thought on “Mammals of Andasibe Part 2 of 2 – Tenrecs, Bats, and Rodents

  1. Pingback: The BBC, Back Again | Association Mitsinjo

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