Beside elephants (usually evidenced by their dung), Sykes’ monkeys and yellow baboons, the forest also shelters two rare species of mammal. The 35cm-high Aders’ duiker is a shy miniature antelope that usually lives in pairs, and the extraordinary golden-rumped elephant shrew, which has been adopted as the symbol of the forest, is a bizarre insectivore, about the size of a small cat, that resembles a giant mouse with an elongated nose, running on stilts. In one of those mystifyingly evolved animal relationships, it consorts with a small bird, the red-capped robin chat, which warns it of danger and in turn picks up insects disturbed by the shrew’s snufflings. Your best chance of seeing a shrew is to look for its fluttering companion among the tangle of branches: the shrew will be close by. Elephant shrews can usually be seen (but not for long – they’re very speedy) on the walk along the Nature Trail close to the Visitor Centre, or along the sandy tracks further inside the forest. You may also spot one darting across forest trails ahead of you. The exceedingly rare Sokoke bush-tailed mongoose is unlikely to put in an appearance – there have been no sightings since the mid-1980s.
The forest is also home to six globally threatened bird species, including the small Sokoke scops owl, which is found only in the red-soiled Cynometra section of the forest, and the Sokoke pipit – both very hard to spot, although guides can help locate them. The other endangered birds are the Amani sunbird, Clarke’s weaver, the East Coast akalat and the spotted ground thrush, a migrant from South Africa. As well as its wealth of mammals and birds, the forest is, in Africa, second only to the Okavango Delta in Botswana for the diversity of its frog population, a fact very much in evidence after heavy rain.