Short Eared Elephant Shrew

Scientific Name
Macroscelides proboscideus
Common Names


Close Relatives

The Short-eared Elephant Shrew is currently (2003) listed as a vulnerable species. All elephant shrew are endemic to Africa. This particular species is native to Namibia, Cape Province of South Africa and Southern Botswana.

The Short-eared Elephant Shrew is between 10-12 cms in length with a tail of about 12-13 cms. It has short round ears, hence the name. They weigh between 40 to 50 grams.

They seek refuge in small burrows or under the cover of grasses. They live mainly in desert areas, so cover is sometimes hard to find. They have also been known to burrow into the sand.

They feed primarily on insects, but also feed on plant material such as berries, roots, etc. They are the only elephant shrew out of the seven species within South Africa to be endemic.

Elephant shrews came about their name due to their long prehensile noses. They were said to resemble that of an elephant’s trunk.

This species is not in fact a shrew, but a Sengi which is why they are also known as the Short-eared Elephant Sengi. The term sengi is from the Bantu language of Africa.

Shrews in general vary in size between 10 to 30 cms.