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Northern Tree Shrew


Quick Facts

Scientific name: TUPAIA BELANGERI
Length: 4.7 to 8.3 inches (12 to 21 centimeters)
Tail length: 5.5 to 7.9 inches (14 to 20 centimeters)
Weight: 1.8 to 9.5 ounces (50 to 270 grams)
Life span: 9 to 12 years
Gestation: 41 to 45 days
Number of offspring: 1 to 5 young
Age of maturity: 4 to 5 months
Conservation status: Northern tree shrews are least concern.


What a shrew!

Northern tree shrews are mouse-like tree dwellers with tempers. Although they are cute, they are extremely territorial and will chase off other shrews who enter their territories, even their mates. The insulting name “shrew” refers to rude or poor-tempered women, like Kate from William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, because of their cruel behavior toward other people.

Helpless at birth

Baby northern tree shrews are hairless and helpless. When they are born, they can’t move, hear or see. A few days later they can wiggle. They can’t hear until 10 days after they are born, and it will be 10 more days before they can open their eyes for the first time.

All on my own

Father shrews don’t live near their young at all, so their mother is the only one that cares for them. Mother shrews only visit their young once every 48 hours to feed them. In a pups’ first month of life, it only see its mother for 2 hours total. Even though their parents are barely involved in their lives, the pups will stay in their nest for the first four months of their lives.

What does the shrew say?

Northern tree shrews only make eight clear sounds, including panicking, calling, conversing, and fighting. The higher pitch sounds show aggression and fear. They also will bare their teeth toward any possible predator.

Sweet and crunchy

Insects are northern tree shrews’ favorite foods. To gain other necessary vitamins and minerals, they will also eat fruits. None of the food in their diet contains much water, so they have to find water every day to survive.


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