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Pygmy Treeshrew
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Information
Range Indonesia and Malaysia, and Thailand.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Scandentia
Family Tupaiidae
Genus Tupaia
Species Tupaia minor
Conservation Status
LCSpecies
Least Concern

The Pygmy treeshrew (Tupaia minor), is a species of treeshrew in the Tupaiidae family. It is found in Indonesia and Malaysia, and Thailand.

The generic name is derived from the Malay word tupai meaning squirrel or small animals that resemble squirrels.

Morphology and Appearance

Pygmy treeshrews can be distinguished from other treeshrews by its appearance. It has upper body hair banded light and dark, giving a speckled olive-brown appearance. The upper parts are buffy and often have a reddish tinge towards the rear. The limbs are equal in length and have long claws. The maximum total length is about 450 mm, half of which is the tail. The tail is long and thin, and its upper side is darker than the body.

Distribution

The pygmy treeshrew is distributed in peninsular Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, the Lingga Archipelago (Indonesia), Borneo, offshore islands of Laut (Indonesia), and Banggi and Balambangan (Malaysia). From the Catalogue of Mammal Skins in Sarawak Museum, Kuching, Sarawak, more than 30 individuals of pygmy treeshrews have been collected from 1891 to 1991. The specimens were mostly caught in Mt Penrisen, Mt Dulit, Mt Poi, Gunung Gading, Bau, Ulu Baram, Saribas, Kuching, and Forest Research.

Behavior

The pygmy treeshrew is diurnal. It is often seen 3 to 8 m above the ground, sometimes up to 20 m, travelling along lianas or branches of small trees. They spend most of their time on the ground and in low bushes, nesting in tree roots and fallen timber. The pygmy treeshrew moves in a semiplantigrade posture which allows it to keep its centre of gravity close to the tree. The claws on its hands and feet are quite sharp and moderately curved, which is useful for climbing.

Diet

The pygmy treeshrew is omnivorous; its diet includes insects and fruit. Scandentia has little economic significance because they do little damage to crops or plantations. However, pygmy treeshrews may be a seed disperser for several Ficus species.

Reproduction

Litters of one to three young are born after a gestation period of 45 to 55 days. Their maximum lifespan is around 9 to 10 years.

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