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Common Tree Shrew Tupaia glis


A long pointy snout

Photographed at forested area near NTU.



Interesting Facts: Tree shrews are small rodent-like arboreal mammals that can only be found in Southeast Asia. Because they can climb trees very well, you might think that they are squirrels. But they aren't. Tree shrews have a longer, pointy snout.

In the 1920s, based on findings on comparative studies of primate and shrew skulls, muscles, and reproduction systems, scientists proposed that tree shrews were actually related to primates, an early offshoot of the primate evolutionary tree. But these similarities are probably due to the facts that both creatures are adapting to life in the trees.

So tree shrews have been variously classified as primates or insectivores before. But are now thought to be distinct from both and are placed in their own order, Scandentia.

The common tree shrew is arboreal but frequently hunts on the ground for insects and lizards. The young are reared in a nest separated from that of the mother and are suckled every other day.

They lives in permanent pairs. Tree shrews may live for between two to three years in the wild and display a strong degree of fidelity to their mates.

Size: Body 17.0-23.5 cm, Tail 17 - 24 cm.

Diet: Feeds on insectes found on fallen trees and branches and fruits.

Activity: Diurnal and arobreal.

Habitat: Forest habitat in Central Catchment Area.

Threats: Habitat destruction

References: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo - J. Payne and Charles M. Francis.

Brookfield Zoo ( Chicago Zoological Society )

Encyclopedia of Mammals - E. Gould, G. McKay