Elephant shrews, also called jumping shrews or sengis, are small insectivorous mammals native to Africa, belonging to the family Macroscelididae, in the order Macroscelidea. Their traditional common English name "elephant shrew" comes from a perceived resemblance between their long noses and the trunk of an elephant, and their superficial similarity with shrews (family Soricidae) in the order Eulipotyphla. However, phylogenetic analysis revealed that elephant shrews are not classified with true shrews, but are in fact more closely related to elephants than shrews. In 1997, the biologist Jonathan Kingdon proposed that they instead be called "sengis" (singular sengi), a term derived from the Bantu languages of Africa, and in 1998, they were classified into the new clade Afrotheria.
They are widely distributed across the southern part of Africa, and although common nowhere, can be found in almost any type of habitat, from the Namib Desert to boulder-strewn outcrops in South Africa to thick forest. One species, the North African elephant shrew, remains in the semi-arid, mountainous country in the far northwest of Africa. The Somali elephant shrew went unobserved from 1968 to 2020 but was rediscovered by a group of scientists in Djibouti.