Elephant Shrews


Image from Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute

Short-eared elephant shrew

Have you ever wanted a pocket-sized elephant… shrew? Elephant shrews are small mammals endemic to southern African countries like Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa but have populations across the southern and central African continent. Elephant shrews look like rodents with long snouts that resemble an elephant trunk and strong back legs to escape predators.

Elephant shrews are most active in the day and primarily eat insects in addition to the occasional berry or plant. The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) says that there are a total of 19 recognized species, and the most widespread species is the four-toed elephant shrew. Interestingly, elephant shrews are more closely related to elephants than proper shrews as mentioned by the California Academy of Sciences. Another interesting fact is that elephant shrews are monogamous, meaning they remain with the same partner for life and keep track of each other through scent markings.

Elephant shrews are fascinating and adorable animals that not many people have on their radars!