When is a shrew not a shrew? Or when is an elephant not an elephant? When it's an elephant shrew, of course. Today's Wildlife Wednesday feature looks at this tiny mammal found in South Africa.
THE CAPE ELEPHANT SHREW
(Official name: Elephantulus edwardii of the Macroscelididae family)
The Cape Elephant Shrew was listed as a vulnerable species in 2003. This particular species of elephant shrew is endemic to South Africa. It is also known as the Cape Rock Elephant Shrew.
These small shrews weigh approximately 50 grams, and were first discovered in Loxton, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. 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, which is why they are also known as the Cape Elephant Sengi. The term sengi is from the Bantu language of Africa.
Shrews in general vary in size between 10 to 30 cms. They feed on insects but are also known to feed
on seeds and shoots.
These creatures stay well hidden, and it is very rare to see a Cape Elephant Shrew.
(Information sources: Wikipedia and African Fauna)