Elephant Shrew

Scientific name

Rhynchocyon cirnei


25 to 700 grams depending on the species (1 to 24 ounces)


22 to 30 centimeters long, not including tail (9 to 12 inches)

Life span

2 to 4 years


Dense forest to open plains




45 to 60 days


Snakes, birds of prey, various carnivores

There are a total of
recognized species
They give birth
3 to 5
times a year
Native to more than
African countries
Elephant Shrew


Habitat fragmentation is the biggest threat to elephant shrews’ survival.

Elephant shrews distribution is limited to highly fragmented forests, which limits their access to available resources and makes finding a mate more difficult, resulting in restricted populations. Specifically, the black and rufous sengi has experienced a significant percentage of forest loss resulting in a population decline of about 20 to 30 percent in the past ten years. Drought-driven fires and increased human-induced fires have also contributed to population declines for this species.


Our solutions to protecting the elephant shrew:

Work with governments.

African Wildlife Foundation engages government entities to help plan and propose alternative solutions to habitat fragmentation by providing our scientists and researchers as resources to assist in proper planning and ultimately ensuring there is a balance between modernization and conservation.

Use technology to drive conservation.

AWF uses science and technology to identify critical landscapes in need of intervention and then to set effective and sustainable development plans that will both improve the lives of people and protect wildlife. In the DRC, we used Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and satellite images to determine what forest areas have been disturbed due to human activity.

Elephant Shrew
Elephant Shrew


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