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Rufous Elephant Shrew

Rufous Elephant Shrew Range Map (East Africa)
Rufous Elephant Shrew Range Map (East Africa)

Latin Name Elephantulus rufescens
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location East Africa
Colour Reddish/Brown
Length 12 - 12.5 cm (4.75 - 5 inches)
Tail 13 - 13.5 cms (5 - 5.5 inches)
Weight 25 - 60 g (0.9 - 2.1 oz)
Life Expectancy

2.5 Yrs (wild)
Up to 5.5 Yrs (in captivity)

Main Characteristics

Rufous Elephant Shrews are small mouse-like animals. They have a body length between 12 and 12.5 cms (4.75 - 5 inches), a tail length between 13 and 13.5 cms (5 - 5.5 inches) and they weigh between 25 and 60 g (0.9 - 2.1 oz).

They have reddish/brown fur with a white underside, white markings around their eyes and a long, hairless tail. They have a long, pointed snout which is flexible and very sensitive, and they use this to hunt out prey.

They have large eyes, ears and their legs are long and slender. Their hind legs are longer than their fore legs which allows them to hop and jump. They are active during the day and they spend time foraging for food and maintaining pathways within their range.


Rufous Elephant Shrews are found in the forests , savannas and scrub lands of east Africa.

They form pairs and each pair defends a territory of approximately 0.34 hectares. When defending their range, males will defend it against other males and females against other females. The pair spends very little time together, only communicating through scent markings and drumming their feet.

Together they maintain a network of pathways throughout their territory, so if they feel threatened they have a quick escape route.


Rufous Elephant Shrews feed upon small invertebrates, fruit, seeds and buds.


Rufous Elephant Shrews breed throughout the year and females will give birth to several litters per year. After a gestation period of 57 - 65 days, the female will give birth to 1 - 2 offspring. At birth the young will weigh approximately 10 g (0.35 oz) and they are fairly well developed. They are weaned by the time they reach 25 days old and are at their full adult size at around 50 days old.

They reach sexual maturity at around 50 days old and at this point they are driven away from their parent's territory and have to establish their own.


Predators of Rufous Elephant Shrews include birds of prey and snakes.


Subspecies of the Rufous Elephant Shrew are:

Elephantulus rufescens boranus
Elephantulus rufescens dundasi
Elephantulus rufescens peasei
Elephantulus rufescens pulcher
Elephantulus rufescens rufescens
Elephantulus rufescens somalicus

Interesting Facts

Elephant Shrews are only found in Africa.

Rufous Elephant Shrews are also known as:
Rufous Sengi
East African Long-Eared Elephant Shrew
East African Long-Eared Sengi

Similar Animals

Short-Eared Elephant Shrew
Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew
Four-Toed Elephant Shrew
Black & Rufous Elephant Shrew


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