Tree-shrew - Encyclopedia

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TREE-SHREW, any of the arboreal insectivorous mammals of the genus Tupaia. There are about a dozen species, widely distributed over the east. There is a general resemblance to squirrels. The species differ chiefly in the size and in colour and length of the fur. Nearly all have long bushy tails. Their food consists of insects and fruit, which they usually seek for in the trees. When feeding they often sit on their haunches, holding the fool, after the manner of squirrels, between their fore paws. The pen-tailed tree-shrew (Ptilocercus lowi), from Borneo, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, is the second generic representative of the family Tupaiidae. The head and body, clothed in blackishbrown fur, are about 6 in. long; the tail, still longer, is black, scaled and sparsely haired for the upper two-thirds, while the lower third is fringed on each side with long hairs, mostly white. One shrew from Borneo and a second from the Philippines have been referred to a separate genus under the name Urogale everetti and U. cylindrura, on account of their uniformly short-haired, in place of varied, tails. (See INSECTIVORA.)

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