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Like other members of the genus Rhynchocyon, it is a relatively large species, with adults averaging about 28 cm (11 in) in length and 450-700 g (1.0-1.5 lb) in weight. It is native to the lowland montane and dense forests.
It eats insects such as beetles, termites, and centipedes, using its proboscis to dig them from the soil and its tongue to lick them up. It typically builds ground level nests for shelter requiring dry leaf litter often at the base of trees. Like most elephant shrews, it lives in monogamous pairs, defending hectare-sized territories.