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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2021



Upland Squirrel

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3










Family : Sciuridae
Species : Sundasciurus tahan

Head-Body Length : up to 15.5 cm
Tail Length : up to 10.4 cm

The Upland Squirrel, or Mountain Slender Squirrel, was formerly considered to be a subspecies of the Slender Squirrel Sundasciurus tenuis, but molecular studies (den Tex et al, 2010) clearly show the two to be separate species.

This squirrel inhabits montane and lower montane forests in Peninsular Malaysia, including parts of the Titiwangsa Mountains (the "main range") and Gunung Tahan (which lies within Taman Negara - the main protected area in the peninsula).

Though similar in appearance to the smaller Slender Squirrel, it can clearly be separated from the latter by the fur on the tail, which is 'annulated', meaning the tail is banded. In addition, the tips of the longer hairs (the guard hairs) are buff, not white, although this feature cannot be discerned in photographs.

Little is known of the ecology of this species, which is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia.

Figs 1 and 2 : Specimen from primary forest at Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia at an elevation of around 1000 metres. Note the presence of vague, but distinctive, alternate dark brown and medium brown bands on the tail.

Figure 3 : Looking west from Fraser's Hill across the montane landscape of the Titiwangsa Range, home of the Upland Squirrel.

References : M10

den Tex, R. J., Thorington, R., Maldonado, J. E., & Leonard, J. A. (2010). Speciation dynamics in the SE Asian tropics: Putting a time perspective on the phylogeny and biogeography of Sundaland tree squirrels, Sundasciurus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 55(2), 711-720.