The animal on the cover of PostgreSQL: Up and Running is an elephant shrew (Macroscelides proboscideus), an insectivorous mammal native to Africa named for its lengthy trunk, which resembles that of an elephant. They are distributed across southern Africa in many types of habitat, from the Namib Desert to boulder-covered terrain in South Africa and thick forests.
The elephant shrew is small and quadrupedal; they resemble rodents and opossums with their scaly tails. Their legs are long for their size, allowing them to move around in a hopping fashion similar to a rabbit. The trunk varies in size depending on species, but are all able to twist around in search of food.
They are diurnal and active, though they are hardly seen due to being wary animals, which makes them difficult to trap. They are well camouflaged and quick at dashing away from threats.
Though elephant shrews are not very social, many of them live in monogamous pairs, sharing and defending their home territory. Female elephant shrews experience a menstrual cycle similar to that of human females; their mating period lasts for several days. Gestation lasts from 45 to 60 days, and the female gives birth to litters of one to three young, which are born fairly developed and remain in the nest for several days before venturing out. This can happen several times a year.
Five days after birth, young elephant shrews add mashed insects—which their mother collects and trasnports in her cheeks—to their milk diet. The young ...