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Elephant Shrew

Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew (Rhynchocyon petersi)Short-eared Elephant Shrew (Macroscelides proboscideus) Elephant Shrew (Elephantulus sp.) and Common Flat Lizard (Platysaurus intermedius), at Tuli game reserve in BotswanaBlack and rufous giant elephant-shrew (Rhynchocyon petersi)Elephant Shrew (Elephantulus)
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Elephant Shrew Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
10cm - 30cm (4in - 12in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
50g - 500g (2oz - 18oz)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
13km/h (8mph)
How long the animal lives for
2 - 5 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Least Concern
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Black, Brown, Grey, White, Tan
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Forest, woodland and grassland
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Insects, Worms, Spiders
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Snakes, Lizards, Birds of Prey
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Long nose and long back legs

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Elephant Shrew Location

Map of Elephant Shrew Locations
Map of Africa

Elephant Shrew

The elephant shrew is a small-sized mammal that is found exclusively in Africa. The elephant shrew is also known as the jumping shrew, as elephant shrews can hop like rabbits using their long back legs.

Elephant shrews can be found inhabiting forests, jungles, grasslands and dense woodland all across Africa. There are nearly 20 different species of elephant shrew, all of which vary in both colour and size.

Elephant shrews are known as insectivores as they survive on a diet that is solely comprised of insects. Despite their name and similar appearance, elephant shrews are not thought to be directly related to their shrew cousins in other parts of the world.

Elephant shrews are very active animals and are always out hunting for food during the day. Due to the diurnal lifestyle of the elephant shrew, it has learned to live it's life in the most successful ways possible. Elephant shrews are very wary and well camouflaged animals, and are able to run away from danger extremely quickly.

A number of elephant shrew species make a series of cleared pathways through the undergrowth and spend their days patrolling them for insect life. The pathways also give the elephant shrew a clear-run home should it become disturbed by a potential predator.

Although elephant shrews are omnivorous animals, the diet of an elephant shrew is nearly completely made up from insects. The elephants shrew hunts worms and grubs from out of the ground, spiders that run along the ground and insects that are found all around it.

Due to the small size of the elephant shrew, it has a number of natural predators in the wild. Snakes, lizards, birds of prey and omnivorous mammals all prey on the elephant shrew, but the elephant shrew is not the easiest meal to try and catch.

Female elephant shrews give birth to more than 1 litter of babies every year. The baby elephant shrews are born after a gestation period that can be between 1 and 2 months long. Baby elephant shrews are well-developed when they are first born but remain in the nest for a few days before they begin to head in the big wide world.

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First Published: 4th November 2009, Last Updated: 10th September 2018

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