Behavior

Tree shrews of the subfamily Tupaiinae are diurnal, whereas the pen-tailed tree shrew is nocturnal. All tree shrews use nests of some kind. As far as is known, tree shrews live in monogamous pairs that occupy a common territory and show aggression towards unfamiliar conspecifics. Scent marking is carried out both with droplets of urine and with secretions of specialized skin glands located on the chest and belly. Like squirrels, tree shrews commonly squat on their hind quarters and hold food items in their hands while eating.

A terrestrial tree shrew (Tupaia tana) eating an insect. (Photo by R. William. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A terrestrial tree shrew (Tupaia tana) on the forest floor. (Photo by Frans Lanting/Minden Pictures. Reproduced by permission.)

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