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The "Squirrel" You See In Your Taman Is Probably Not A Squirrel

The Common Treeshrew can be found in Peninsular Malaysia, south Thailand, Singapore, and parts of Indonesia.

Cover image via Ronald Orenstein

Tree shrews are often mistaken for squirrels in Malaysia and it's not hard to see why

They both have long, bushy tails...

... And are both usually brown and slender

However, there are several differences between the two creatures.

To begin with, tree shrews have longer, more pointed snouts compared to squirrels.

Image via EcologyAsia

The Common Treeshrew or Tupais glis – usually mistaken for a squirrel – is one of the largest in the tree shrew family with an average length that ranges between 16cm and 21cm.

They are commonly brown, gray, or olive in colour and can be found in Peninsular Malaysia, south Thailand, Singapore, and parts of Indonesia.

Tree shrews are mainly predators that feed on insects and other small animals, while squirrels are primarily herbivores that eat fruits, nuts, and seeds

Squirrels mainly eat plants and seeds but they also occasionally feed on insects.

Image via EcologyAsia

Only on occasion do squirrels eat insects and other small creatures or birds, while tree shrews sometimes feed on fallen fruit as well.

Both squirrels and tree shrews eat in a similar style, which is to hunch on their hind legs and hold the food in their hands as they eat it

In addition, both creatures have similar-looking ears that are relatively small.

Most tree shrews have fur-covered ears, with exception to a pen-tailed tree shrew, whose ears are bare.

One thing they definitely share in common is that they're both cute!

So the next time you see one of these little guys scampering about, be sure to not get them mixed up!

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