Tang -- 13.5.2009

From our correspondent in the Indian Ocean, Siganus Sutor.

10 minutes ago the dog was barking outside. (She still is.) So I went outside to bark at the dog in return. She was busy giving the fright of his life to a small “tangue”, who was running around like a headless chicken, showing his round little bum to the dog — and to me who started to chase him too with the camera. Well, I had to report the wildlife safari that was going on, and report it to nobody else than you. Here’s a picture taken in the dark and in “le feu de l’action”. 

A tangue is an animal native to Madagascar and Mauritius, and this one’s known — to comparatively few people, I’m guessing — in English, as a Tail-less Tenrec. Sig says it was a small tangue, but I’m assuming he means in relation to himself.  According to Wiki, it’s the largest land-dwelling species of tenrec*. It is up to 39 cm (15½ in) long and weighs up to 2½ kg (5½ lb).  In other words, it could be more than FIVE TIMES THE SIZE of Jim’s kitten, Muntz, who weighs one pound.

*Land-dwelling tenrecs? So, what, there are flying tenrecs too?  The sea-dwelling tenrec — the seatangue?  Really?  Seetang is German for seaweed.  Then there’s the Highland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes nigriceps) — that’s the tenrec that abandons his kilt at night and runs naked through suburban Mauritian neighbourhoods.