Definition of tenrec in US English:



  • A small insectivorous mammal native to Madagascar, different kinds of which resemble hedgehogs, shrews, or small otters.

    Several genera in the family Tenrecidae: many species, including the common (or tailless) tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus), also found in the Comoro islands

    • ‘Small, spiny, pointy-nosed creatures known as tenrecs are the equivalents of shrews, moles and hedgehogs.’
    • ‘Among mammals, the carnivores, primates, and tenrecs all have fairly well-established African connections.’
    • ‘The dental formula of tenrecs varies considerably among species, reflecting the diversity of the group.’
    • ‘Even comprehensive analyses have not clarified phylogenetic relationships among aardvarks, tenrecs, golden moles, and elephant shrews.’
    • ‘Afrotheria is a newly recognized taxon comprising elephants, hyraxes, sea cows, aardvarks, golden moles, tenrecs, and elephant shrews.’


Late 18th century: from French tanrec, from Malagasy tàndraka.