Are Hedgehogs Related to Elephants?

Hedgehogs resemble other animals a lot like moles, shrews, and porcupines. Hence, there is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to hedgehogs and their origin. One very peculiar question that gets asked more often than you’d think is: Are hedgehogs related to elephants?

Contrary to popular belief, hedgehogs are not related to elephants.

The lesser hedgehog tenrec is an animal that looks similar to a hedgehog. Therefore, many people get confused when they look at it.

Scientists used to believe that the lesser hedgehog tenrec was the hedgehog’s close cousin. However, the lesser hedgehog tenrec is a close cousin of the elephant. Hence, many people think that hedgehogs are related to elephants, although that is not the case.

There is a lot of confusion regarding hedgehogs as people do not know much about them. Hedgehogs are close relatives of moonrats, shrews, and moles.

Many people believe that hedgehogs are related to porcupines or that they are porcupines. In addition, people also believe that when hedgehogs mature, they turn into porcupines. This confusion has been a big problem because it makes people think that hedgehogs are dangerous and shoot quills.

However, hedgehogs and porcupines have one common characteristic, which is their quills. These two animals belong to entirely different groups.

What are Tenrecs?

Tenrecs, also known as the lesser tenrec, is a mammal that lives in Madagascar. Tenrecs can also be found in the Comoro Islands and mainland Africa. The tenrec is close relatives with otter shrews and golden moles. However, tenrecs are not even close relatives of hedgehogs, although they look quite similar.

Many people confuse tenrecs with hedgehogs because they look quite alike:

What is a Tenrec

The tenrec is a small-sized mammal, and its entire body is covered in spines that are cream in color. The tenrec, like the hedgehog, also rolls into a ball, and the spines protect it from any potential enemies. The lesser hedgehog has a long nose, whiskers, and ears, which help it search for food and look out for predators.

As the tenrec is small, it is easy for it to become prey to other animals. Some animals which prey on the tenrec are birds and snakes. When a tenrec feels threatened or is in danger, it rolls into a ball to protect its belly. If a predator attempts to bite the tenrec, it can get gravely injured, and the spines can get stuck in its mouth.

What Are the Main Differences Between Hedgehogs and Tenrecs?

For someone new, it can be difficult to tell the difference between hedgehogs and tenrecs. There are a few differences you must know about to differ between the two mammals.

The body length of hedgehogs and tenrecs are quite similar. Hedgehogs can be an inch longer than tenrecs.

The most important aspect of hedgehogs and tenrecs is their nose because it is useful in helping them hunt and look out for predators. Hedgehogs have slightly shorter noses than tenrecs. Moreover, a hedgehog’s nose is also wider than tenrecs’.

Tenrecs have narrow and long snouts, which are similar to what rats have. In fact, a tenrec’s appearance would look exactly like a rat if they did not have quills. Hedgehogs have similar legs to a tenrec because they are thin and long.

However, hedgehogs have four toes on their front paws and five toes on the back paws. In addition, hedgehogs are not great climbers and will fall when they attempt to.

Tenrecs have five toes on every paw, but their legs are skinny like a hedgehog’s. Unlike a hedgehog, tenrecs are well-suited to climbing because of their long toes. Hence, when a tenrec climbs, it will not fall like a hedgehog.

For hedgehogs, their genitals are exposed, and you can easily detect and distinguish between a male and a female. On the other hand, it is not easy to detect genitalia as it is hidden inside for tenrecs.

There is also a difference in the way that hedgehogs and tenrecs defend themselves. When hedgehogs feel threatened or are in danger, they curl into a ball and raise their spikes. In addition, hedgehogs may hiss at their enemy. On the other hand, tenrecs will bite and then curl into a ball to protect themselves.

How Are Hedgehogs and Tenrecs Similar?

While hedgehogs and tenrecs are different animals, they still share some similarities. Tenrecs have spines and so do hedgehogs. The physical features often confuse people, and they think tenrecs are hedgehogs.

Apart from the physical features, there are some social similarities that both mammals share. Hedgehogs are notorious for being anti-social and solitary animals. While not all hedgehogs will have the same personalities, almost all take time to become comfortable around new people and surroundings.

Similarly, hedgehogs also do not like being in the presence of other hedgehogs and animals.

The tenrec is not different from the hedgehog when we talk about social behaviour. Tenrec also likes to live a solitary life without another mate. You can still keep hedgehogs with another as female hedgehogs are likely to tolerate each other.


Hedgehogs are exotic animals, but recently many people have started keeping them as pets. However, despite this, there is still a lot that people do not know about hedgehogs. Many people assume that hedgehogs are related to elephants.

However, that is not true. An animal called the lesser hedgehog tenrec looks like the hedgehog, and people often confuse it for one. This animal is related to elephants which makes people believe that hedgehogs are too.

Hedgehogs are relatives of moonrats, shrews, and moles. These animals, although they look similar to tenrecs, are not related to them. However, there are certain similarities that these animals share. For example, both hedgehogs and tenrecs have spines and curl into a ball to protect themselves.

A tenrec is smaller in size and is great at climbing as opposed to a hedgehog. Another similarity includes their social behaviour as they both are solitary animals.

profile photo

Hey, I'm Brian and I love hedgehogs. They're curious little animals that fascinate me. Over the years, I've become extremely knowledgeable about hedgehogs so have decided to share that knowledge here

[the_ad id="1296"]