Along with hyraxes, elephants and aardvarks, elephant shrews belong to the Afrotheria clade of mammals. Two subspecies of elephant shrew have been kept in Prague Zoo, and the zoo recently obtained a male from a third subspecies, the black and rufous elephant shrew.

This species is unique, with only twenty-four animals kept by seven zoos in Europe. The male in Prague was born last year in Rotterdam Zoo, where the breeding of this species in European zoos began. The female should be sent to him from Wroclaw Zoo.


Grumpy loner

The exposition was altered for the black and rufous elephant shrew’s arrival. Live plants have been added, as the animal burrows into the ground, in a mix of sand, soil and various natural materials.

Zookeepers can also separate and feed the elephant shrews through a small door, to prevent stress. The elephant shrew is a solitary animal, which lives alone and does not mate for long. At the time of mating, males and females defend their territory against others.


Arica Up Close

The black and rufous elephant shrew can be found in the Africa Up Close pavilion. The pavilion is designed as a journey from the desert to the forest, through an abandoned and sand-covered city, where nature has taken over former man-made dwellings.

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