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Shrew-faced Ground Squirrel
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4

 


 

 

Order : RODENTIA
Family : Sciuridae
Species : Rhinosciurus laticaudatus

Head-Body Length : 23 cm
Tail Length : 17 cm

The Shrew-faced Ground Squirrel is a forest floor inhabitant of undisturbed primary and mature secondary forests : it is secretive in habits and rarely seen. It is medium-sized, feeds primarily on forest floor insects, and probably nests in hollow logs.

It appears to be strongly crepuscular in habits i.e. it is most active early morning and late afternoon.

Though a true squirrel of the family Sciuridae, this species superficially resembles the Common Treeshrew Tupaia glis (family : Tupaiidae) in appearance.  In both species the snout is long and pointed, but the gape of the Shrew-faced Ground Squirrel is much shorter when compared with the Common Treeshrew.

In addition, the tail of the Shrew-faced Ground Squirrel is characteristically short and bushy, unlike the Common Treeshrew's which is nearly twice as long.

The fur of the Shrew-faced Ground Squirrel is dark brown above, and pale buff to white below. The upper incisors are much reduced in comparison to other squirrel species, and the tongue is very long : these are adaptations to its insectivorous diet which comprises ants, termites, earthworms and beetles.

The species occurs in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and parts of Borneo. In Singapore it is considered rare.


Figs 1 and 2 : Specimen from freshwater swamp forest : it was using a fallen tree to traverse an area of waterlogged ground.

Fig 3 : Example from lowland, primary forest at Taman Negara, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 4 : Infra-red image taken by a trail camera just after daybreak.


References : M2, M3