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Common Tree Shrew

Common Tree Shrew

Common Tree Shrew Range Map (South East Asia)
Common Tree Shrew Range Map
(South East Asia)

Latin Name Tupaia glis
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location South East Asia
Colour Olive/Brown/Grey
Length 16 - 21 cms (6.3 - 8.3 inches)
Tail Approx. 16 cms (6.3 inches)
Weight 140 - 190 g (4.9 - 6.7 oz)
Life Expectancy

2 - 3 Yrs (wild)

Main Characteristics

Common Tree Shrews are one of the largest tree shrews. They have a body length between 16 and 21 cms (6.3 - 8.3 inches), a tail length of approximately 16 cms (6.3 inches) and they weigh between 140 and 190 g (4.9 - 6.7 oz).

Their coat is dense and they are coloured various shades of olive, brown and grey with their underside being pale in colour. Their paws are bare and they have sharp claws which are used for climbing.

Common Trees Shrews have small ears and moderately sized eyes that are located on the side of their head. Their snout is long and they have a bare patch of skin just above their nose.

Common Tree Shrews use many types of vocalizations as methods of communication, they also use scent markings to mark their territories and communicate.


Common Tree Shrews inhabit the deciduous tropical forests of south east Asia. They are found in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and on nearby islands. They are active during the day and they spend time in both in the trees and on the ground.

The home range of a Common Tree Shrew is between 8,800 and 10,170 sq. m (94,722 - 109,468 sq. ft).


Common Tree Shrews are omnivores and they mainly feed upon fruit, insects, leaves and other vegetation.


Common Tree Shrews breed all the year round but breeding peaks between February and June. Two separate nests are constructed, one for the young and one for the parents to sleep in.

After a gestation period of 40 - 52 days, 1 - 3 young are born. At birth the young tree shrews weigh 10 - 12 g (0.35 - 0.42 oz) and at 10 - 20 days old their ears and eyes will open. Female Common Tree Shrews spend very little time with their young, they only visit them every 48 hours and they nurse them for 10 - 15 minutes at a time. At 36 days old they leave the nest and are weaned.

Common Tree Shrews reach sexual maturity by the time they are 3 months old and a females can start to produce young at 4.5 months old.


Predators of Common Tree Shrews include snakes, birds of prey and small carnivores.


Subspecies of the Common Tree Shrew include:

Tupaia glis assamensis
Tupaia glis belangeri
Tupaia glis brunetta
Tupaia glis cambodiana
Tupaia glis chinensis
Tupaia glis clarissa
Tupaia glis cochinchinensis
Tupaia glis cognata
Tupaia glis concolor
Tupaia glis demissa
Tupaia glis ferruginea
Tupaia glis hypochrysa
Tupaia glis jacki
Tupaia glis kohtauensis
Tupaia glis lacernata
Tupaia glis lepcha
Tupaia glis longipes
Tupaia glis modesta
Tupaia glis okivacea
Tupaia glis olivacea
Tupaia glis phaeniura
Tupaia glis salatana
Tupaia glis siberu
Tupaia glis siccata
Tupaia glis tenaster
Tupaia glis umbratilis
Tupaia glis versurae
Tupaia glis wilkinsoni

Interesting Facts

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

Golden-Bellied Tree Shrew
Horsfield's Tree Shrew
Mountain Tree Shrew
Northern Tree Shrew
Large Tree Shrew
Pygmy Tree Shrew
Mindanao Tree Shrew
Pen-Tailed Tree Shrew


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