Sunday, July 6, 2014

Squirrel Facts: The Shrew-Faced Squirrel

The shrew-faced squirrel (rhinosciurus laticaudatus) is a ground squirrel that inhabits mature forests of Borneo, Singapore, Sumatra, and the peninsula of Malaysia, and possibly adjacent southern Thailand. Living on the forest floor, it is one of the few squirrels that is mainly insectivorous, foraging for earthworms and insects that include ants, termites, beetles, and grasshoppers, as well as bananas and other fruit.


As its name implies, the shrew-faced squirrel has a long, tapered snout that causes it to superficially resemble the common tree shrew. The long snout, along with reduced upper incisors and a long tongue, is an adaptation to help the squirrel catch and eat insects on the forest floor. The tree shrew, by comparison, has a wider gape than the shrew-faced squirrel, and a longer but less bushy tail. The resemblence between the two species is so close that the people of the region call them by the same name, tupai.

The shrew-faced squirrel is a medium-sized squirrel, about 7.5-9.5 inches in length for the head and body, with a tail about 4-5 inches long. The back fur can be reddish brown or olive brown, with white or yellowish white fur on the belly.


Although not considered a rare or threatened species, the shrew-faced squirrel is secretive and rarely seen. It nests primarily in hollow logs where females give birth to and raise one or two young which are born blind and hairless.


4 comments:

  1. I love the look of the shrew-faced squirrel

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  2. Top picture is a Tupaia species, not a squirrel. The bottom two are squirrels though! And yes, the extended face of squirrels (and some rats!) in SE Asia is very odd and very cool.

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  3. Do you think you could help me with identification? I have a rather blurry picture of what is either a squirrel or treeshrew but am unable to tell between the two animals.

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