Vanilla – male lesser tenrec (Echinops telfairi)
The Lesser hedgehog tenrec is a shrew-like mammal, small with a long whiskered snout. Its back, sides and tail have dark brown to black, sharp, dense, white-tipped spikes. Its underside is paler and does not have spikes.
The hedgehog tenrec is native to southern and southwestern Madagascar, its natural habitats being tropical or subtropical dry forests, dry savanna, tropical or subtropical dry shrubland, and tropical or subtropical dry lowland grassland.
It is mostly a solitary animal except during breeding or when rearing offspring. Nocturnal in the wild, in captivity they are often active day and night alike. Unlike their cousin hedgehogs, tenrecs are excellent climbers, and use their long toes to hold onto branches. They will roll into a tight ball with their spines sticking out when threatened. If the intruder does not move off, the animal will unroll and charge the offender with its teeth bared.