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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2023



Short-tailed Gymnure

Family : Erinaceidae
Species : Hylomys suillus

Head-Body Length : 14 cm
Tail Length : 3 cm
Weight : 70 grams

The Short-tailed Gymnure, or Lesser Gymnure, is a diminutive insectivore which inhabits hilly to montane forest, in places up to elevations of 3400 metres (e.g. on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo). It is rarely found in lowland habitats.

It is mainly, but not exclusively, diurnal and is terrestrial in habits. It prefers areas with thick vegetation cover, where it constructs its nests
 in burrows, or beneath rocks. Its prey comprises soft-bodied vertebrates such as earthworms and insect grubs.

Its fur is mainly brown, and somewhat grizzled, with the underside being greyish. Its snout is pointed, and it bears numerous similar-sized teeth with which it can easily grip its prey. Its ears are rounded and relatively large. Its legs are short, and its digits bear sharp claws for digging. Its tail is short and bears few hairs.

Eight species of gymnure are recognised (including the unique Moonrat), of which 7 occur in Southeast Asia. Gymnures are closely related to hedgehogs - both groups belong to the family Erinaceidae.

The Short-tailed Gymnure is the most widespread of gymnures in Southeast Asia. Its range includes Myanmar (and parts of southern China), Thailand, Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam), Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. There are no records from Singapore, which does not possess significant areas of hill forest.

Fig 1 : Adult specimen from Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia - it was active mid-morning in an overgrown garden. Note the short, thin tail.

Fig 2 : Close-up of the head showing the long pointed snout, and large, rounded ears.

Fig 3 : Lower montane forest at Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia, where the Short-tailed Gymnure is sometimes encountered.

Gymnure photos thanks to Graeme Guy.

References : M2, M3, M5



Fig 1 ゥ  Graeme Guy
Fig 2 ゥ  Graeme Guy