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Northern Tree Shrew

Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House

Did You Know?

  • Northern tree shrews, the only animals in their taxonomic order, have the largest brain-to-body mass ratio of all animals, including humans.
  • These small animals are not closely related to other animals called shrews. Their closest relatives are actually primates; they share genetic and neurosensory traits with them. At one point, they were even classified in the same order as primates.
  • Female shrews do not provide much care for their offspring, visiting only every couple of days to nurse them.

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Scientific Name: Tupaia belangeri

Class: Mammals

Diet: Insects (mainly beetles) and fruit

Range: Southeast Asia

Endangered Status: Least Concern

More Information

Northern tree shrews are small mammals that can be 9 inches long from tip to tail. They look like squirrels, with grayish fur and a bushy tail, but their face and nose are long and tapered and their eyes are large. They live in rainforest and shrubland habitats and are highly adaptable.

These shrews live in small social groups and are territorial. They are monogamous, but a breeding pair doesn’t interact often, other than sharing a burrow at night. They have a gestation period of about a month and a half, resulting in two or more infants. Their young grow quickly and leave the nest in about a month. They can reproduce in just six months.

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