Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew, Rhynchocyon petersi

The black and rufous elephant shrew (Rhynchocyon petersi) is native to Africa, specifically Tanzania and Kenya. It is also known as the black and rufous sengi. As is typical to shrew species, the black and rufous elephant shrew is relatively large, with an average body length of 11 inches and a weight of up to 1.5 pounds. It will eat many things including vegetation, insects, and small mammals like the black rat.

The black and rufous elephant shrew has been given a status of Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Due to this status, many zoos have begun to create breeding programs in order to maintain a stable population if its status ever escalates to endangered. The Philadelphia Zoo has already established a successful breeding program, and in February of 2007, two brothers were born in the Smithsonian National Zoo. These black and rufous elephant shrews now live at the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, Connecticut and are part of the Tree of Life Exhibit found there.

Image Caption: Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew (Rhynchocyon petersi) in Philadelphia Zoo. Credit: Joey Makalintal/Wikipedia(CC BY 2.0)