1 minute read

Tree Shrews: Scandentia

Physical Characteristics

In physical appearance, tree shrews resemble a squirrel with a long snout, nose. The scientific family name is from the Malay word tupai, which means squirrel. Animals in this family are commonly referred to as tree shrews, ever since they were first mistaken for shrews when they were first spotted in 1780. Shrews are small, insect eating mammals with pointy snouts.

Tree shrews are relatively small, with the head and body length ranging from about 5 to 9.5 inches (13 to 24 centimeters). These animals have a long tail, which is covered with long thick hair in all the species except the pen-tailed tree shrew. The tails of pen-tailed tree shrews are hairless except for a whitish feather-shaped arrangement of hairs near the end. In general, tree shrews have small ears similar to those of a squirrel, and their ears are covered with fur. An exception is the ears of the pen-tailed tree shrews, which are bare and larger than all the other species.

Fur colors of tree shrews range from gray to dark brown on the upper side of their body, and white, yellow-brown, or dark brown on their belly. Their fur is generally soft and thick. Some species have light shoulder stripes and others have facial markings. Their legs are short, with claws on their fingers and toes.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsTree Shrews: Scandentia - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Tree Shrews And People, Conservation Status, Common Tree Shrew (tupaia Glis): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET