Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Sengis: Macroscelidea - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Checkered Sengi (rhynchocyon Cirnei): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SENGIS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Sengis: Macroscelidea - Checkered Sengi (rhynchocyon Cirnei): Species Account

meaning elephant eat mammals

Physical characteristics: The checkered sengi adult has a head and body length of 9 to 12.5 inches (23.5 to 31.5 centimeters) and a tail length of 7 to 10 inches (19.0 to 26.3 centimeters).

Geographic range: The checkered sengi is found in northern and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, southern Tanzania, northeastern Zambia, Malawi, and northern Mozambique.

Habitat: Checkered sengis live in dense, lowland and mountain regions of tropical rainforest.

Diet: Checkered sengis are mainly insectivores, meaning they eat primarily insects. Their diet includes ants, termites, and beetles. A checkered sengi searches for food. Checkered sengis eat mainly insects, but they also may eat small mammals, birds, bird eggs, and snails. (© Tom McHugh/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.) However, they have also been known to eat small mammals, birds, bird eggs, and snails.

Behavior and reproduction: Checkered sengis are primarily diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day, They can on occasion become nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night, especially during hot weather. They can live alone, in mated pairs, or in small groups. They are monogamous, meaning they have only one sexual partner for life. They are extremely nervous animals and are always on the lookout for predators, such as pythons and other snakes, and birds of prey such as eagles, hawks, owls, and kestrels. Checkered sengis have an average lifespan in the wild of three to five years.

Checkered sengis are territorial, meaning they are protective of an area they consider home and claim exclusively for themselves. Pairs of males and females usually have separate but overlapping territories. Individuals` sleep in nests made of small pits covered with leaves. Checkered sengis build new nests every few days, digging a shallow depression in the ground and lining and covering it with leaves. Once constructed, it is difficult for humans to detect. A pair may build up to ten shelters in their territories.

The checkered sengi breed year-round and have several litters per year. The gestation period, the time the female carries the young in her womb, is about forty-two days. The litter size is one baby, which stays in the nest for about ten days before going out with its mother to forage for food. It goes its own way after five to ten weeks.

Checkered sengis and people: Checkered sengis are of no known significance to humans.

Conservation status: The checkered sengi is listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable, due primarily to severely fragmented populations and declining habitats. ∎



Macdonald, David. The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Nicoll, Martin E., and Galen B. Rathbun. African Insectivora and Elephant Shrews: An Action Plan for Their Conservation. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, 1990.

Nowak, Ronald M. Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.


Downs, Calleen T., and M. R. Perrin. "The Thermal Biology of Three Southern African Elephant Shrews." Journal of Thermal Biology (December 1995): 445–450.

Fredericks, Ilse. "Elephant Shrews May Help Astronauts." Africa News Service (September 21, 2003).

Koontz, Fred W., and Nancy J. Roeper. "Elephantulus rufescens." Mammalian Species (December 15, 1983): 1–5.

Rathbun, Galen B. "Rhynchocyon chrysopygus." Mammalian Species (June 8, 1979): 1–4.

Tabuce, Rodolphe, et al. "A New Genus of Mavroscelidea (Mammalia) From the Eocene of Algeria: A Possible Origin for Elephant Shrews." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (August 2001): 535–546.

Web sites:

Myers, Phil. "Order Macroscelidea." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Macroscelidea.html (accessed on July 12, 2004).

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