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Pygmy Tree Shrew

Pygmy Tree Shrew
Photographer: Paul J Morris

Pygmy Tree Shrew Range Map (S E Asia)
Pygmy Tree Shrew Range Map (S E Asia)

Latin Name Tupaia minor
Conservation Status Least concern
Location S E Asia
Colour Olive/Brown
Length 11 - 13.5 cms (4.3 - 5.3 inches)
Tail 13 - 17 cms (5.1 - 6.7 inches)
Weight 30 - 70 g (1.1 - 2.5 oz)
Life Expectancy

9 - 10 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Pygmy Tree Shrews have a body length between 11 and 13.5 cms (4.3 - 5.3 inches), a tail length between 13 and 17 cms (5.1 - 6.7 inches) and they weigh between 30 and 70 g (1.1 - 2.5 oz).

They are speckled olive-brown in colour and their fur can also have a reddish tinge towards the rump. They have a slender build, a long bushy tail, a pointed muzzle and large eyes. They have well developed senses of hearing, smell and vision.

Pygmy Tree Shrews are agile climbers which is aided by their sharp claws, splayed toes and pimple-like protrusions on their feet which gives them an excellent grip on bark and rock.


Pygmy Tree Shrews can be found in the forests of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo and some off-shore islands. They are active during the day and they can often be seen up to 20 metres above the ground running along lianas and branches of trees.

They mark their home range with scent produced by their abdominal glands and they defend it against others of the same sex.


Pygmy Tree Shrews forage during the day along branches, in bushes, under rocks and among fallen logs. They are omnivores and they feed on a wide variety of insects, small vertebrates, fruits, leaves, seeds and carrion.


After a gestation period of 46 - 50 days, a litter of 2 - 3 young are born. At birth the young are blind and hairless, but they are able to leave the nest when they are a month old.

Tree Shrews reach sexual maturity at around 4 months old and they generally breed throughout the year with no defined breeding season.


Predators of Pygmy Tree Shrews include snakes, mongooses, tree-dwelling cats and diurnal birds of prey.


Subspecies of the Pygmy Tree Shrew include:

Tupaia minor humeralis
Tupaia minor malaccana
Tupaia minor minor
Tupaia minor sincipis

Interesting Facts

Pygmy Tree Shrews are also known as:
Lesser Tree Shrew

Tupaia comes from the Malay word "tupai" which means squirrel.

Tree Shrews have the highest brain to body mass ratio of any animal, even higher than humans.

Similar Animals

Indian Tree Shrew
Common Tree Shrew
Nicobar Tree Shrew
Northern Tree Shrew
Striped Tree Shrew
Ruddy Tree Shrew
Long-Footed Tree Shrew
Pen-Tailed Tree Shrew


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