elephant shrew

CCQD: Round-Eared Elephant Shrew

Curious Conservationist Question: Round-Eared Elephant Shrew


With the nose of an elephant, the body of a mouse, and the legs of a kangaroo . . .

What is the round-eared elephant shrew’s closest relative?

A. The elephant

B. The common mouse

C. The house shrew


A. The elephant

The round-eared elephant shrew (Macroscelides proboscides) looks to be a character out of a pixar film, this incredibly cute creature is an insectivorous mammal from Africa. First named for its nose that resembled an elephant’s trunk, these bouncing balls of fur were thought to be closest related to the shrew. However, new research has shown that the insect loving, round-eared elephant shrews- and other elephant shrews- are closer related to the elephant and its relatives than true shrews. Amazing!

Extra fun facts:

Elephant shrews are one of only a few monogamous mammal species in the world! Wow. Elephant shrews are among only a handful of monogamous mammals, making them a model group for the study of monogamy (only one mate). They have been studied for their mate guarding behavior.

elephant shrew
Round-eared elephant shrew (Macroscelides proboscides) at Wilhelma. Screenshot from footage captured by Ms. Mallory Adventures

Although monogamous, the pair typically do not care much for each other and will often live in separate nests.  The sole purpose of interaction between the two is reproduction.  Not a very healthy relationship if you ask me!

elephant shrew, babies
Round-eared elephant shrew youngsters (Macroscelides proboscides) at Wilhelma. Screenshot from footage captured by Ms. Mallory Adventures

After a gestation (pregnancy) of 56 days, the one or two young are well developed at birth. They are able to run around after only a few hours after birth.  Within 45 days, they will reach sexual maturity, find their own territory, and start their own furry families.

Watch this fun little clip of a round-eared elephant shrew family at Germany’s Wilhelma Zoo. (The little ones are too cute!) 

**Filmed and edited my Ms. Mallory Adventures. **


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