Trivia question for Sep-16-2011

Posted on Sep 16, 2011 in Trivia

Olivia thinks these guys are cute but she does not like what they eat.  These guys fight fiercely with others of their species that trespass on their territory.  They are widely distributed across the southern part of Africa, and although common nowhere, can be found in almost any type of habitat, from the Namib Desert to boulder-strewn outcrops in South Africa to thick forest. One species, remains in the semi-arid, mountainous country in the far north-west of the continent.

Females give birth to litters of one or three young several times a year, after a gestation period varying from 45 to 60 days. The young are born relatively well developed, but remain in the nest for several days before venturing outside. Females drive away other females while males try to ward off other males. Although they live in pairs, the partners do not care much for each other and their sole purpose of even associating with the opposite sex is for reproduction. Social behaviors are not very common and they even have separate nests. The one or two young are well developed at birth. They are able to run around just a few hours after birth.

Here are Olivia’s questions:  Tell us what this little rodent is and what they like to eat?  Also, tell us how fast they can run if they are trying to escape from predators?

Good Luck 😉


Congratulations to Derek Carmichael for being the first to identify the little mammal we featured. The rodent is an Elephant Shrew. Elephant shrews or jumping shrews are small insectivorous mammals native to Africa. Their traditional common English name comes from a fancied resemblance between their long noses and the trunk of an elephant, and an assumed relationship with the true shrews. As it has become plain that the elephant shrews are unrelated to the shrews, the biologist Jonathan Kingdon has proposed that they instead be called sengis, a term derived from the Bantu languages of Africa.

Elephant shrews eat mainly invertebrates, such as insects, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and earthworms. An elephant-shrew uses its nose to find prey and uses its tongue to flick small food into its mouth, much like an anteater. Eating large prey can pose somewhat of a challenge for the elephant shrew. For example, a giant elephant-shrew struggling with an earthworm must first pin its prey to the ground with a forefoot. Then, turning its head to one side, it chews pieces off with its cheek teeth, much like a dog chewing a bone. This is a sloppy process, and many small pieces of worm drop to the ground; these are simply flicked up with the tongue. Some elephant-shrews also feed on small amounts of plant matter when available, especially new leaves, seeds, and small fruits.

As for their speed when being chased, these little guys can achieve a top speed of up to 15-MPH as they run and turn through a network of self-made trails.  Here is more on these odd looking rodents: Elephant Shrew

Thanks for playing along 😉