Black & Rufous Giant Elephant Shrew

Black & Rufous Giant Elephant Shrew Rhynchocyon petersi

Type of Animal:
Elephant Shrew

Forests, dense woodlands, montane grassland, montane shrubland

SE Kenya & NE Tanzania

Small w/ long trunk-like snout, front fur reddish-brown, back fur black, big eyes on side, reddish-orange face, hindlimbs much longer than forelimbs

Insects, insect larvae, centipedes, millipedes, worms, spiders, fruits, seeds, buds, vegetables, plant matter

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos

Monogamous pairs

Additional Info:

Male: Boar
Female: Sow
Young: Shrewlet
Group: Pair

1-1.5 lbs

1.5 months

Life Span:
2.5-5 years

10 in

Body Length:
9-12 in

Tail Length:
10 in

Main predators are raptors, snakes, & carnivorous/omnivorous mammals.
Also called Black & Rufous Sengi, Zanj Elephant Shrew, & Peter’s Elephant Shrew.
Females give birth to 1-2 young, having up to 4 litters per year & breed year-round.
Active during the day (diurnal).
Rest at night in nests constructed of leaves/other vegetation. Territories have up to 10 nests.
Have excellent senses of smell, hearing, & sight.
Very shy in the wild.
Rhynchocyon is Ancient Greek for dog snout.
Get name from long trunk-like snout.
When foraging, they use snouts to dig invertebrates from soil & use tongues to lick them up.
Sexually mature at 1.5 months old.
Pairs guard 2.47-4.2 acres & mark territories w/ scent glands on undersides of tail.
When pursued, they’ll take refuge in hollow logs/tree trunks/shallow burrows.
Bond between parents & offspring fairly weak.
While stable & increasing, threats like deforestation, hunting for meat, charcoal production, limited range, & timber use for woodcarving/firewood still loom.
Because of using snout for digging through leaf litter, may aid in nutrient turnover, in turn aiding plant growth.

Fun Fact(s):
They can reach speeds of 18 mph.
Sometimes called “jumping shrews” due to jumping abilities-can jump 3 ft in air.
While called shrews, they’re not related to true shrews. Most closely related to aardvarks, otter shrews, tenrecs, & golden moles. Also distantly related to elephants, hyraxes, & manatees/dugongs.
Some of the largest brains of any small mammal.
Females undergo menstrual cycle similar to that of human females.

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