Tenrics and Spines

If you ever find yourself down Madagascar way, you will encounter a passel of fascinating and unique critters. Just keep a safe distance from Komodo dragons, more about them tomorrow. You may be able to get close to the lowland streaked tenrec, but avoid those pointed spines.

The lowland streaked tenrec is unique, and the Creator has given it some abilities that no other animal has.
Credit: Flickr / Frank Vassen (CC by 2.0)
Some folks make pets out of these beasties, but they only live about three years at the most. Although they look a bit like porcupines, they are not in the same classification. (There's a bit of a resemblance to the hedgehog as well.) Biologists are unsure how to classify tenrecs, and creationists think that perhaps they belong to their own created kind. What is probably the most interesting feature of tenrecs is the way they use their spines. Not just for defensive purposes, but the Creator built in a unique method of communication that no other mammal is known to have.
Lowland streaked tenrecs are found in and around the rainforests of eastern Madagascar. They’d fit in your hand, measuring around 7 inches (16–19 cm) long and weighing about 5 ounces (125–280 g). Every few hours (day or night doesn’t matter), they come scurrying out of their burrows to nose around for earthworms. If you find one hungry hunter, others probably aren’t far away, since they burrow and forage together as families.

They’re also super cute. But don’t get on their bad side—those outrageous hairdos aren’t merely a fashion statement.
To read the article in its entirety or download the audio version, click on "Practical Prickles: Lowland Streaked Tenrec".