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
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
in comparison to 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.
Fig 1 : A rare photo of a Shrew-faced Ground
Squirrel in its native habitat. Taken at Taman Negara, Pahang,
References : M2, M3