Gymnures & moonrats[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Erinaceomorpha
Family: Erinaceidae
Subfamily: Galericinae
Pomel, 1848

The gymnure, also called a hairy hedgehog or moonrat, is a type of mammal belonging to the subfamily Galericinae, in the family Erinaceidae and the order Erinaceomorpha. Although more closely related to hedgehogs, they look like very large rats.


Distribution and appearance

Gymnures inhabit moist jungle terrain in various locales of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Sumatra, China and the Malay Peninsula.

Although its closest relative is the hedgehog, full grown specimens more closely resemble large rats, or the North American Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginianis), with which it shares similar habits and ecological niches (an example of parallel evolution).

The gymnure's body plan is believed to resemble that of the earliest mammals, with a large toothy head about 1/3 the length of the total body, a naked furless tail for balance and thermoregulatory purposes, and a plantigrade stance.

They also have an outstanding sense of smell, and tactile response in the snout region.

Way of life

Gymnures are primarily carnivorous. They are nocturnal or crepuscular: they come out to forage at twilight or in the night to search the forest floor, using smell to find the animals that they eat. Gymnures eat various arthropods, mice, small reptiles and amphibians, with occasional fruit and fungi.

Gymnures keep territories, and individuals are solitary except when breeding. Gymnures have a very strong scent, typically described as a rancid garlic or onion smell, which is produced by its territory-marking scent glands. Several creatures similar in form and niche, such as the opossum and solenodon smell similar to the gymnure.


This subfamily has alternately been called Echinosoricinae, Galericinae, and Hylomyinae. Some researchers prefer Hylomyinae because the specific relationships of the extinct genus Galerix to living erinaceids are uncertain.[2] There are eight species in five genera:[1]


  1. ^ a b Hutterer, Rainer (16 November 2005). Wilson, Don E., and Reeder, DeeAnn M.. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). pp. 212–217. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Gould, G.C. (1995). "Hedgehog phylogeny (Mammalia, Erinaceidae)—the reciprocal illumination of the quick and the dead". American Museum Novitates 3131: 1–45. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • gymnure — ▪ mammal       any of seven species of hedgehoglike mammals having a long muzzle with a protruding and mobile snout. Found in Southeast Asia and the Philippines, gymnures have a slim body, short tail, and long, slender limbs and feet. The eyes… …   Universalium

  • gymnure — didžioji gimnūra statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Echinosorex gymnura angl. gymnure; Malayan gymnure; Malayan rat shrew; moonrat; Raffles gymnure vok. großer Haarigel; großer Rattenigel rus. большая… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • Gymnure — Hylomyinae Hylomyinae …   Wikipédia en Français

  • gymnure — noun A type of carnivorous mammal, related to the moles and resembling large rats, which inhabits various parts of south east Asia …   Wiktionary

  • gymnure — (ji mnu r ) adj. Terme de zoologie. Qui a la queue nue.    S. m. pl. Les gymnures, section de la famille des singes, comprenant les sapajous à queue nue et calleuse. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Gymno...., et du grec, queue …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • gymnure — hairy hedgehog Unusual Animals …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • gymnure — gym·nure …   English syllables

  • gymnure — /ˈdʒɪmnjuə/ (say jimnyoohuh) noun → moonrat. {New Latin gymnurus (species name), from Greek gymnos naked + oura tail} …   Australian English dictionary

  • gymnure — ˈjimˌn(y)u̇(ə)r noun ( s) Etymology: New Latin Gymnura : moonrat …   Useful english dictionary

  • Dwarf Gymnure — Dwarf Gymnure[1] Conservation status Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)[2] …   Wikipedia

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