Food List and Links
FOOD & FEEDING:
Insects- Lesser tenrecs should be offered insects at least a few times a week, but can be fed them daily. Tenrecs should be fed 8-10 large superworms or 10-15 large mealworms/ the equivalent of other smaller insects. Tenrecs need to be fed live insects regularly & not freeze dried or canned, those can be given as occasional treats but not as their staple diet of insects. Tenrecs is a large variety of insects, they can have any feeder insect there is really. They should be offered a wide variety of different insects from a young age to try & keep their diet well balanced & varied like it would be in the wild. They should only be fed feeder insects, which are insects bred specifically to be fed, they shouldn’t be fed/given insects from the yard/outside or bait insects as they could have parasites or pesticides in them & that would be very harmful to them. Commonly fed insects are- superworms, mealworms, dubia roaches, hornworms, crickets, black soldier fly larvae/ Phoenix worms (they’re the same thing), waxworms, silkworms, & butterworms. Tenrecs can ingest large insects that are pretty big compared to their size body. Tenrecs are pretty intense eaters, so if you wanna hand feed make sure you use tweezers to give them the insect because they tend to mistake fingers & hands as their food also & will probably bite you, & tenrec bites can be nasty if they think you’re food because they won’t want to let go. We suggest just putting the insects into a dish & put it into their cage. You can get live insects from feeder insect breeders that sell online or from a pet store, online feeder insect breeders usually sell their insects in larger quantities so it is usually best to go to a pet store first to get smaller quantities of multiple insects for them to try them first to see if they like them before you start buying the insects in large amounts. Most pet stores sell cups of insects starting at 10-15 count & go up to 100-150 count. But pets stores do price gouge/overprice their insects pretty badly, so for the long term I wouldn’t suggest buying from pet stores if you have access to order from a good online feeder insect breeder because they’re much more cost effective to buy from than pet stores long term.
Make sure if you feed insects daily that they’re not high fat insects (like wax worms, butter worms, etc), tenrecs can become obese if fed lots of high fat insects or too many insects during each feeding. If your tenrec becomes overweight don’t worry, through torpor they should lose the extra weigh they put on. Just make sure that they aren’t having to lose a bunch of extra weigh during each torpor, aka that if they become overweight it is a single occurrence & not a repetitive issue as that will severely impact their health & could cause things like fatty liver disease to gain & lose a lot of weight repeatedly.
Proteins- Tenrecs do also need meat protein in their diet, a good way to provide meat protein is to feed them cooked unseasoned meats weekly at least & to give them thawed frozen pinkie mice. You can feed raw meats but only if the meats are made to be fed raw, meats from a grocery store aren’t made to be fed raw & usually contain bacteria’s like salmonella, etc & need to be cooked in order to kill the bacteria in them to make them safe for consuming. Some pet stores & online companies sell raw meat for pets to specifically feed them a raw meat diet. We suggest you get frozen pinkie mice from feeder rodent breeders because their stock should be healthy, some pet stores do sell frozen pinkies but their stock comes from the same mills & backyard breeders they get their pet rodents from & those animals are usually sick & have diseases so you don’t want to feed potentially sick animals to your tenrec & it make them sick. If your tenrec is really picky you can feed them freeze dried raw meat kibble toppers crumbled into their kibble, most like that.
Instinct rawboost freeze dried raw meat kibble toppers- https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/natures-variety-instinct-raw-boost-chicken-dog-food-mixers
Tenrecs need to have access to kibble at all times in their cages, the kibble should be high in protein & fat, we recommend 17-22% fat & 38-45% protein. The best kibble option to feed them is a high quality, high protein, & high fat kitten or cat food that has real meat as the first few ingredients & no fillers, by products, or dyes in it. Many cat foods have kibble pieces that are too big for tenrecs to be able to chew because tenrecs have small teeth & small mouths, so kitten food is a common choice for tenrec owners to use due to it’s kibble size usually being substantially smaller than a cat kibble is. But there are cat kibbles that have small enough kibble pieces for them to chew, we will list some good kibble options of both cat & kitten kibble below. Tenrecs don’t usually like to eat much kibble, they prefer insects & other proteins, but they will munch on it here & there. They do need to have kibble in their diet to give them important nutrients that is in the kibble which they need to be healthy.
- Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food- https://www.chewy.com/instinct-original-kitten-grain-free/dp/149475
- Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food- https://www.chewy.com/wellness-core-grain-free-kitten/dp/146746
- Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal Dry Kitten Food- https://www.chewy.com/wellness-complete-health-natural/dp/141775
- American Journey Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food - https://www.chewy.com/american-journey-turkey-chicken/dp/158630
- American Journey Duck Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food- https://www.chewy.com/american-journey-duck-recipe-grain/dp/158633
- Farmina Natural & Delicious Grain-Free Formula dry cat food-*This is the food we feed our tenrecs - "https://www.chewy.com/farmina-natural-delicious-chicken/dp/56921
- Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food - https://www.chewy.com/instinct-original-grain-free-recipe/dp/146301
- ORIJEN Tundra Grain-Free Dry Cat Food- https://www.chewy.com/orijen-tundra-grain-free-dry-cat-food/dp/285958
- Lesser tenrecs can have small amounts of fruits, vegetables, cooked unseasoned eggs, baby foods can also be given as an occasional treat just make sure they don’t contain grains or pasta.
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