African Insectivores | Afroinsectiphilia

The African Insectivores, or Afroinsectiphilia, is a proposed subdivision of insectivores native to the African continent. The proposal includes otter shrews, golden moles, tenrecs, and even aardvarks. Many species are omnivores and still possess most of their primitive features. Many are also small, for example, the golden mole, and are characterized by small eyes and ears, long snouts, clawed toes, and primitive teeth. They rely mostly on their hearing and smelling senses, as their touch and vision are not well-developed. Afroinsectiphilia prefers forests, mountainous terrains, or deserts with many living a solitary life. Females give birth to live young ones.

What is unique about shrews?

Most shrews have poor vision because they have small eyes that are sometimes covered by skin. But their sense of hearing and smell is excellent. Even so, the unique thing about them (or in certain species) is that they can echolocate. This is a technique they use to locate food other than determining or interpreting what is happening in their surroundings.

Are moles blind?

No, but their vision isn’t good because they are colorblind and nearsighted. Even so, these small eyes are very good at detecting light. Moles also have good smelling abilities and possess ears that are nearly invincible. These features make them well suited to the environment they live in.

Is a tenrec a good pet?

We can find the tenrec in Madagascar. It resembles a hedgehog because of its size, quills, and excellent climbing skills, but is more related to elephants and aardvarks. This petite size and physical profile may make you think of them as good pets. However, they are not that friendly and they can bite hard if manhandled.

African Insectivores Guides
Browse through our curated African Insectivores Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of African Insectivores. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.

African Insectivores

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Aardvark
267700
23.6”-29.9” | 60-76 cm
11”-13.4” | 28-34 cm
41.3”-51.2” | 105-130 cm (Body)
88-176 lb | 40-80 kg
15-30 years
Aardvark
76.000
34.000
130.000
80.000
30.00
267700
GUIDE
3D
Aardvark
5.7”-7.5” | 14.5-19 cm
3.3”-4.5” | 8.5-11.5 cm
9.1”-11.8” | 23-30 cm (Body)
1-1.54 lb | 450-700 g
4-5 years
Black & Rufous Elephant Shrew
19.000
11.500
30.000
0.700
5.00
320
GUIDE
3D
Black & Rufous Elephant Shrew
5.9”-7.7” | 15-19.5 cm
4.3”-5.7” | 11-14.5 cm
8.7”-11.4” | 22-29 cm (Body)
1.4-2.9 oz | 40-83 g
2-6 years
Cape Elephant Shrew
19.500
14.500
29.000
0.083
6.00
240
GUIDE
3D
Cape Elephant Shrew
1.6”-2” | 4-5 cm
1.6”-2” | 4-5 cm
3.9”-4.7” | 10-12 cm
.9-1.7 oz | 25-47 g
3-4 years
Cape Golden Mole
5.000
5.000
12.000
0.047
4.00
180
GUIDE
3D
Cape Golden Mole
2”-2.6” | 5-6.5 cm
1.2”-1.6” | 3-4 cm
3.1”-3.9” | 8-10 cm (Body)
.9-1.1 oz | 25-31 g
1-4 years
Etendeka Round-Eared Sengi
6.500
4.000
10.000
0.031
4.00
300
GUIDE
3D
Etendeka Round-Eared Sengi
3.1”-3.9” | 8-10 cm
3”-3.5” | 7.5-9 cm
7.9”-9.4” | 20-24 cm
.9-1.2 lb | 410-540 g
3-4 years
Giant Golden Mole
10.000
9.000
24.000
0.540
4.00
1820
GUIDE
3D
Giant Golden Mole
3.3”-4.3” | 8.5-11 cm
2.75”-3.7” | 7-9.5 cm
10.6”-13.8” | 27-35 cm (Body)
.88-1.72 lb | 400-780 g
3-5 years
Giant Otter Shrew
11.000
9.500
35.000
0.780
5.00
300
GUIDE
3D
Giant Otter Shrew
3.3”-5.3” | 8.5-13.5 cm
2.75”-4.3” | 7-11 cm
5.9”-9.1” | 15-23 cm (Body)
.39-.77 lb | 175-350 g
8-13 years
Greater Hedgehog Tenrec
13.500
11.000
23.000
0.350
13.00
310
GUIDE
3D
Greater Hedgehog Tenrec
2”-2.75” | 5-7 cm
1.8”-2.75” | 4.5-7 cm
5.1”-7.1” | 13-18 cm
.25-.56 lb | 113-255 g
5-19 years
Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
7.000
7.000
18.000
0.255
19.00
850
GUIDE
3D
Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
2.2”-3.1” | 5.5-8 cm
1.6”-2.4” | 4-6 cm
4.7”-6.7” | 12-17 cm
.28-.62 lb | 125-280 g
2-2.5 years
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
8.000
6.000
17.000
0.280
2.50
2550
GUIDE
3D
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
3.3”-4.1” | 8.5-10.5 cm
2.2”-2.75” | 5.5-7 cm
4.3”-5.1” | 11-13 cm (Body)
1.4-1.9 oz | 40-55 g
1-4 years
North African Elephant Shrew
10.500
7.000
13.000
0.055
4.00
100
GUIDE
3D
North African Elephant Shrew
3.1”-5.9” | 8-15 cm
2.6”-4.5” | 6.5-11.5 cm
6.7”-12.2” | 17-31 cm (Body)
.9-2.1 oz | 25-60 g
1-4 years
Somali Elephant Shrew
15.000
11.500
31.000
0.060
4.00
410
GUIDE
3D
Somali Elephant Shrew
Giant Golden Mole (Chrysospalax trevelyani)
Comparison drawing of the Giant Golden Mole compared to other African Insectivores

Among the largest golden mole found in Africa, specifically, South Africa is the Giant Golden Mole (Chrysospalax trevelyani). The small mammal is easy to identify because of the lack of external ears and tail, eyes covered by skin or hair, wedged-shaped head, a leather pad, powerful limbs, and large claws. It also has longer and coarser hair compared to other golden moles and an underfur that is dense and wooly. Since it is blind and deaf, it is rarely seen and it is mostly solitary, nocturnal, and eats soil invertebrates. It prefers Afro-montane forests or grasslands with well-developed undergrowth, soft soil, or deep litter layer.

The Giant Golden Mole has a body length in the range of 7.9”-9.4” (20-24 cm) and total weight of .9-1.2 lb (410-540 g). The Giant Golden Mole has a rough standing height between 3.1”-3.9” (8-10 cm) and body width of 3”-3.5” (7.5-9 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant Golden Mole is between 3-4 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Giant Golden Mole
Among the largest golden mole found in Africa, specifically, South Africa is the Giant Golden Mole (Chrysospalax trevelyani). The small mammal is easy to identify because of the lack of external ears and tail, eyes covered by skin or hair, wedged-shaped head, leather pad, powerful limbs, and claws.

The Giant Golden Mole has a body length in the range of 7.9”-9.4” (20-24 cm) and total weight of .9-1.2 lb (410-540 g). The Giant Golden Mole has a rough standing height between 3.1”-3.9” (8-10 cm) and body width of 3”-3.5” (7.5-9 cm). The typical lifespan of the Giant Golden Mole is between 3-4 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Giant Golden Mole
Giant Golden Mole (Chrysospalax trevelyani)
Height:
3.1”-3.9” | 8-10 cm
Width:
3”-3.5” | 7.5-9 cm
Length:
7.9”-9.4” | 20-24 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.9-1.2 lb | 410-540 g
Area:
Scientific Name
Chrysospalax trevelyani
Lifespan
3-4 years

Drawings include:

Giant Golden Mole side view, front

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North African Elephant Shrew (Petrosaltator rozeti)
Comparison drawing of the North African Elephant Shrew compared to other African Insectivores

The North African Elephant Shrew (Petrosaltator rozeti) has a rodent-like appearance coming of its small body, long tail, and large ears. It is light and covered in yellowish-brown to pale sandy-pink fur and a white underside. Like other elephant shrews, the snout is long and flexible. Besides, their nostrils are at the top of their snout. Its forelimbs are shorter than its rear limbs, enabling it to jump or run easily. The North African elephant shrew is found in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Libya in the desert and shrubby vegetation. Females give birth to pups of four liters twice a year. It is solitary, often forming a monogamous pair to defend a territory.

The North African Elephant Shrew has a body length in the range of 4.3”-5.1” (11-13 cm) and total weight of 1.4-1.9 oz (40-55 g). The North African Elephant Shrew has a rough standing height between 3.3”-4.1” (8.5-10.5 cm), body width of 2.2”-2.75” (5.5-7 cm), and tail length of 5.1”-6.3” (13-16 cm). The typical lifespan of the North African Elephant Shrew is between 1-4 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the North African Elephant Shrew
The North African Elephant Shrew (Petrosaltator rozeti) has a rodent-like appearance coming of its small body, long tail, and large ears. It is light and covered in yellowish-brown to pale sandy-pink fur and a white underside. Like other elephant shrews, the snout is long and flexible.

The North African Elephant Shrew has a body length in the range of 4.3”-5.1” (11-13 cm) and total weight of 1.4-1.9 oz (40-55 g). The North African Elephant Shrew has a rough standing height between 3.3”-4.1” (8.5-10.5 cm), body width of 2.2”-2.75” (5.5-7 cm), and tail length of 5.1”-6.3” (13-16 cm). The typical lifespan of the North African Elephant Shrew is between 1-4 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the North African Elephant Shrew
North African Elephant Shrew (Petrosaltator rozeti)
Height:
3.3”-4.1” | 8.5-10.5 cm
Width:
2.2”-2.75” | 5.5-7 cm
Length:
4.3”-5.1” | 11-13 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
1.4-1.9 oz | 40-55 g
Area:

Tail Length: 5.1”-6.3” | 13-16 cm

Scientific Name
Petrosaltator rozeti
Lifespan
1-4 years

Drawings include:

North African Elephant Shrew side view, front

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Cape Elephant Shrew (Elephantulus edwardii)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Cape Elephant Shrew to other species of African Insectivores

A relatively common animal in South Africa is the Cape Elephant Shrew (Elephantulus edwardii) preferring rocky areas. It is insectivorous and also a good pollinator as it uses its slender tongue to feed on insects or propagate nectar lily. It is also called the Cape rock sengi or Cape rock elephant-shrew. The Cape elephant shrew is nocturnal. Other features it has are a long proboscis and tongue. Besides, it is quick because of its long hind limbs and short forelimbs. This enables it to jump from one rock or boulder to another in its natural habitat.

The Cape Elephant Shrew has a body length in the range of 8.7”-11.4” (22-29 cm) and total weight of 1.4-2.9 oz (40-83 g). The Cape Elephant Shrew has a rough standing height between 5.9”-7.7” (15-19.5 cm), body width of 4.3”-5.7” (11-14.5 cm), and tail length of 8.7”-10.2” (22-26 cm). The typical lifespan of the Cape Elephant Shrew is between 2-6 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Cape Elephant Shrew in various poses with dimensions
A relatively common animal in South Africa is the Cape Elephant Shrew (Elephantulus edwardii) preferring rocky areas. It is insectivorous and also a good pollinator as it uses its slender tongue to feed on insects or propagate nectar lily. It is also called the Cape rock sengi.

The Cape Elephant Shrew has a body length in the range of 8.7”-11.4” (22-29 cm) and total weight of 1.4-2.9 oz (40-83 g). The Cape Elephant Shrew has a rough standing height between 5.9”-7.7” (15-19.5 cm), body width of 4.3”-5.7” (11-14.5 cm), and tail length of 8.7”-10.2” (22-26 cm). The typical lifespan of the Cape Elephant Shrew is between 2-6 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Cape Elephant Shrew in various poses with dimensions
Cape Elephant Shrew (Elephantulus edwardii)
Height:
5.9”-7.7” | 15-19.5 cm
Width:
4.3”-5.7” | 11-14.5 cm
Length:
8.7”-11.4” | 22-29 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
1.4-2.9 oz | 40-83 g
Area:

Tail Length: 8.7”-10.2” | 22-26 cm

Scientific Name
Elephantulus edwardii
Lifespan
2-6 years

Drawings include:

Cape Elephant Shrew side view, front

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Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec (Echinops telfairi)
Scale illustration of an average Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec compared to other African Insectivore species

The Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec (Echinops telfairi) has a profile of a hedgehog. However, it is still small, stout, with a short tail and prominent ears. Its limbs and muzzles are of moderate length. It is mostly found in tropical dry forests, dry shrublands, and dry savannas of Madagascar. The lesser hedgehog tenrec is terrestrial and may feed on insects or small invertebrates. Besides, it is a solitary animal. Its hair is modified into black and white spines to act as protection from predators, while its belly and paws have fine hairs. These nocturnal animals have poor eyesight, but with a well-developed sense of smell and hearing and sensitive whiskers.

The Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec has a body length in the range of 5.1”-7.1” (13-18 cm) and total weight of .25-.56 lb (113-255 g). The Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec has a rough standing height between 2”-2.75” (5-7 cm) and body width of 1.8”-2.75” (4.5-7 cm). The typical lifespan of the Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec is between 5-19 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
The Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec (Echinops telfairi) has a profile of a hedgehog. However, it is still small, stout, with a short tail and prominent ears. Its limbs and muzzles are of moderate length. It is mostly found in tropical dry forests, dry shrublands, and dry savannas of Madagascar.

The Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec has a body length in the range of 5.1”-7.1” (13-18 cm) and total weight of .25-.56 lb (113-255 g). The Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec has a rough standing height between 2”-2.75” (5-7 cm) and body width of 1.8”-2.75” (4.5-7 cm). The typical lifespan of the Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec is between 5-19 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec
Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec (Echinops telfairi)
Height:
2”-2.75” | 5-7 cm
Width:
1.8”-2.75” | 4.5-7 cm
Length:
5.1”-7.1” | 13-18 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.25-.56 lb | 113-255 g
Area:
Scientific Name
Echinops telfairi
Lifespan
5-19 years

Drawings include:

Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec side view, front

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Aardvark (Orycteropus afer)
Comparison drawing of the Aardvark compared to other African Insectivores

The porcine snout, long nose, sharp claws, and powerful legs make the Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) excel well in digging burrows for its nest and open termite mounds. It is native to Africa, nocturnal, with a good sense of smell. This insectivore has a stocky body, a short tail, and pinkish-gray or grayish-brown skin. Besides, the skin is thick, the ears large like those of a rabbit, and the body has less hair. The Aardvark is a solitary animal and elusive. Females give birth to a single cub. It can be found in the savannas, rainforests, grasslands, and thickets but not in rocky areas.

The Aardvark has a body length in the range of 41.3”-51.2” (105-130 cm) and total weight of 88-176 lb (40-80 kg). The Aardvark has a rough standing height between 23.6”-29.9” (60-76 cm), body width of 11”-13.4” (28-34 cm), and tail length of 17.7”-27.6” (45-70 cm). The typical lifespan of the Aardvark is between 15-30 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Aardvark
The porcine snout, long nose, sharp claws, and powerful legs make the Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) excel well in digging burrows for its nest and open termite mounds. It is native to Africa, nocturnal, with a good sense of smell. The Aardvark has a stocky body, a short tail, and pinkish-gray skin.

The Aardvark has a body length in the range of 41.3”-51.2” (105-130 cm) and total weight of 88-176 lb (40-80 kg). The Aardvark has a rough standing height between 23.6”-29.9” (60-76 cm), body width of 11”-13.4” (28-34 cm), and tail length of 17.7”-27.6” (45-70 cm). The typical lifespan of the Aardvark is between 15-30 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Aardvark
Aardvark (Orycteropus afer)
Height:
23.6”-29.9” | 60-76 cm
Width:
11”-13.4” | 28-34 cm
Length:
41.3”-51.2” | 105-130 cm (Body)
Depth:
Weight:
88-176 lb | 40-80 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 17.7”-27.6” | 45-70 cm

Scientific Name
Orycteropus afer
Lifespan
15-30 years

Drawings include:

Aardvark side view, front

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