ID help needed – Elephant Shrew sp. (Namibia)


I made some record shots (see below) of two elephant shrews at Erongo Lodge in Namibia in April (trip report will follow soon).  I think that these are Bushveld Elephant Shrews (Elephantulus intufi), but I am not sure.  The guide called them Short-snouted  Elephant Shrews, but that seems incorrect since they don’t occur in that area according to the IUCN website.  However, Western (Smith’s) Rock Elephant Shrew Elephantulus rupestris does occur here. The field guide by Smithers gave the best hints to separate these elephant shews. For  E. Intufi: white eye ring, conspicuous russet patches behind the ears, and conspicuous white hairs on the edges of the ear. The guide also says that this species is normally yellow-ish buff, but distinctly greyer in northern Namibia. These characteristics can all be seen in the photo in my opinion. For Western (Smith’s) Rock Elephant Shrew Smither’s guide lists these characteristics: distinctive patch of reddish yellow at the base of each ear extending onto the nape (didn’t see this), brush at the tail end (not seen either, but tail was partly obscured), light grey overall and tinged yellow on the flanks and asides of the face.

Any help on the ID would be great !





  • Trevor Hardaker

    Hi Sjef,

    Thanks for emailing me the higher res photos. These animals are extremely variable in colour and I’m not sure that the features you listed are actually diagnostic for one animal over the other. You are correct in that Short-snouted does not occur there and there are only 2 candidates – Western and Bushveld. The most useful feature to identify these in areas of distribution overlap is habitat preferences with Western preferring rocky areas and Bushveld favouring more open areas with sandy soils. I think you will agree that the area around Erongo Lodge which is rocky certainly favours Western and that would be my call on this animal.

    Kind regards

    • sjefo

      Hi Trevor,

      Thanks for the input ! Completely agree about the habitat, I had first written it down as Rock Ele Shrew, but then got confused by the notes in Smithers. I will tick it as Rock Ele Shrew, still a lifer :-).



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