Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Somali Elephant Shrew
Somali Elephant Shrew
Common Name Somali Sengi
Range Somalia
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Macroscelidea
Family Macroscelididae
Genus Elephantulus
Species Elephantulus revoili
Conservation Status
Data Deficient

The Somali elephant shrew or Somali sengi (Elephantulus revoili), is a species of elephant shrew in the Macroscelididae family. It is endemic to Somalia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland and hot deserts.

Natural habitat[]

Its natural habitat is arid and semiarid desert with rocky substrates and sparse shrubs. In some parts of northern Somalia, the Somali sengi and rufous sengi may be locally sympatric. It is found in the northern Horn of Africa; it was formerly thought to be exclusively endemic to Somalia, but a 2020 sighting also indicates they are found in Djibouti and potentially Ethiopia.


It was formerly classified in the genus Elephantulus, but a 2020 study found it to be the sister taxon of the clade containing the genera Petrodromus and Petrosaltator; due to this, it was reclassified in the monotypic genus Galegeeska. The split with the Petrodromus-Petrosaltator clade is estimated to have occurred about 20.6 million years ago.

Disappearance and rediscovery[]

The Somali sengi was among the 25 "most wanted lost" species that were the focus of Global Wildlife Conservation's “Search for Lost Species” initiative.. On 18 August 2020, 50 years after it was last seen and recorded, it was announced that a population had been found in Djibouti, the first documented since 1968.


Galegeeska translates to "weasel of the horn". In the Somali language, 'geeska' means corner or horn, as in the Horn of Africa. Galê in Ancient Greek means weasel, and has been used in other small mammal taxa. 'Gale' also honours one of the authors, Galen B. Rathbun (1944-2019) who searched for the Somali sengi and devoted several decades of research into sengi biology.