The forelimb muscles of the two semifossorial species of Tenrecidae (Oryzoryctinae: common rice tenrec; and Tenrecinae: streaked tenrec) were compared macroscopically with those of the unspecialized terrestrial–arboreal species, the Talazac long-tailed tenrec. The structure of the hand was also observed using three-dimensional reconstructed images from computed tomography data. The two semifossorial species had similar muscle weight ratios in the lateral and long heads of M. triceps brachii and M. teres major. A similar hand skeleton structure (in which the second, third and fourth metacarpals and phalanges act as a digging apparatus) was observed in both species. Our observations confirm that both these species have muscular–skeletal adaptations supporting fossorial locomotion. As each species belongs to a monophyletic subfamily within the Tenrecidae isolated in Madagascar, such semifossorial adaptations are assumed to have evolved convergently.