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Animal Database
Animal Database
Moonrat (Echinosorex gymnura)
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Eulipotyphla
Family Erinaceidae

Galericinae or gymnures, also called a hairy hedgehogs or moonrats, is a subfamily of mammals in the family Erinaceidae and the order Eulipotyphla. Although more closely related to hedgehogs, their resemblance is akin to rats. Gymnures are thought to have appeared in Eastern Asia before their closest relatives, and changed little from the original ancestor, which is thought to have been also the ancestor of the shrews.


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.

Distribution and Habitat[]

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


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.


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.

Subfamily: Galericinae
  Genus: †Deinogalerix
    †Deinogalerix brevirostris
    †Deinogalerix freudenthali
    †Deinogalerix intermedius
    †Deinogalerix koenigswaldi
    †Deinogalerix minor
  Genus: Echinosorex
    Moonrat (Raffles, 1822) (Echinosorex gymnura)
  Genus: HylomysHylomys engesseri (Mein & Ginsburg, 1997)
    Long-eared Gymnure (Jenkins & M. F. Robinson, 2002) (Hylomys megalotis)
    Dwarf Gymnure (Robinson & Kloss, 1916) (Hylomys parvus)
    Short-tailed Gymnure (Müller, 1840) (Hylomys suillus)
  Genus: Neohylomys
    Hainan Gymnure (Shaw & Wong, 1959) (Neohylomys hainanensis)
  Genus: Neotetracus
    Shrew Gymnure (Trouessart, 1909) (Neotetracus sinensis)
  Genus: Podogymnura
    Dinagat Gymnure (Heaney & Morgan, 1982) (Podogymnura aureospinula)
    Mindanao Gymnure (Mearns, 1905) (Podogymnura truei)