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Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew

Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew Range Map (East Africa)
Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew Range Map (East Africa)

Latin Name Rhynchocyon chrysopygus
Conservation Status Endangered
Location East Africa
Colour Russet/Golden
Length 27 - 29 cm (10.5 - 11.5 inches)
Tail 23 - 26 cms (9 - 10 inches)
Weight 525 - 550 g (1.25 lbs)
Life Expectancy

4 - 5 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrews are one of the largest species of elephant shrew. They have a body length between 27 and 29 cms (10.5 - 11.5 inches), a tail length between 23 and 26 cms (9 - 10 inches) and they weigh between 525 and 550 g (1.25 lbs).

They have a russet coloured head and body with a golden coloured patch on their rump. The skin on their rump is thicker and it is thought to provide protection when they are attacked. They have black hairless, feet, legs and ears and they have a sparsely furred black tail with the last third of it being white with a black tip. They have a long, pointed snout which is flexible and very sensitive, and they use this to hunt out prey.

When they feel threatened by predators they slap their tail on the ground to warn other elephant shrews of the potential danger, then they bound off and hide in one of the many nests within their range.


Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrews are found in the dense, coastal scrub and semi-deciduous forests of east Africa.

They form pairs and each pair defends a territory of approximately 1.7 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.

They have several leaf lined nests within their range that are located on the forest floor. They sleep alone and choose a different nest to stay in each night to avoid being detected by predators.


Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrews mainly feed on small invertebrates such as worms, centipedes, grasshoppers, beetles and spiders. They spend around 80% of their day rooting through leaf litter looking for prey.


Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrews breed throughout the year and females will give birth several times per year. They are monogamous and will pair up for life.

After a gestation period of approximately 40 days, the female will give birth to a single offspring. The youngster will stay in the nest for the first 2 weeks then will emerge fully weaned. Within 5 days of leaving the nest they are fully independent but they will remain within their parents range for up to 20 weeks then they will go and find their own territory.


Predators of Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrews include birds of prey, snakes, dogs and humans.


There are no Subspecies of the Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew.

Interesting Facts

Elephant Shrews are only found in Africa.

Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrews are very fast and can run at speeds of up to 25 Km/Hr (16 mph).

The Golden-Rumped Elephant Shrew has been included as one of the 10 species to be investigated by the Zoological Society of London Edge of Existence Programme in 2007.

Similar Animals

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


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