Northern Tree Shrew

Tupaia belangeri

Animal Class: Mammals

Length: head and body up to 9 inches, with tail about the same length

Weight: up to 10 ounces

Life Span: 3 years in the wild

Diet: Omnivorous, eating a wide variety of insects, fruits, and eggs

Habitat: Forest of Southeast Asia

Description: The Northern tree shrew resembles a long-nosed squirrel. Mainly brown in color with large, dark, lashless eyes, short, bare ears and a large, wet nose. Their whiskers are short and inconspicuous and their long, bushy tail flicks upwards. Their feet have naked pads and sharp nails that aid in climbing.

Newborns are altricial (pink and hairless with closed eyes and ears) but the mother does not groom them, clean the nest, or live in the nest. The young are left alone except for a few minutes every 48 hours when she returns to nurse them. She enters and the babies feed frantically – taking in almost a third of their body weight in a minute. The mother spends about 25 minutes total of maternal care until they are weaned! Once the young leave the nest however, she devotes a great deal of time to them with additional nursing, solid food, and teaching them to forage until they are independent.

Our Animals: William Nicholas and Guinevere