Wildlife in the garden

When we sell this house, the thing I will miss most is the wildlife. And I don’t mean the squirrel that came inside the other day, or the civets in the ceiling, either. I mean the stuff outside in the garden.

Like these fellas below. Well they have been known to come inside too, and then dash around like a freaked out cat, flinging themselves a couple of metres up the walls before they realise they can’t really climb flat vertical surfaces. I have been trying to photograph them for years. The trouble is they live at high speed, fuelled by adrenaline and sheer terror. Well, I guess you’d live that way too, if you were just the right size morsel for an active cat and you live mostly on the ground. The sight of me inside the house – let alone outside – is enough to change them into low-flying objects with no visible means of support.This morning I managed to snap them from inside the kitchen, through the open window when they were on the other side of the verandahNope, they aren’t rats or squirrels and they are not related to either. They aren’t even rodents. They have pointed teeth and a very ancient lineage. They are called Treeshrews, whhich is one of the worst misnomers you could think of seeing they don’t live in trees (although they do climb) and they aren’t shrews.They are probably the most common of garden animals here in Malaysia, and yet in the national language they are described with the same word as “squirrel”, a family they don’t belong to and are not related to.

Sorry about the lousy photos – hard to get them to stand still for a split second.

They are insectivores, although they do eat just about anything small that moves, and will eat fruit too. You can distinguish them from most squirrels here by their pointed snouts.


Wildlife in the garden — 6 Comments

  1. i love these guys and they are damn clever too! they can break into the house even when all doors and windows are closed, through the cooker hood outlet.

    my guys have learned how to open kitchen containers by pushing them off the counter top. they can also pull open slightly open cupboards to help themselves.

    they have acquired a taste for cat biscuits, bread, strawberries and mandarin oranges among much else.

    what is of great interest to myself and Ellen Whyte who writes the Katz Tales column in the star is why our cats never give chase … even when these guys are right under their nose? my cats take mild interest but never make a move

    ellen has some nice pics here :


    btw i had the biggest laugh when i was in sydney at taronga zoo. there was a big cage in the dangerous mammal section near the lions and tigers, and there among all the foliage was just one little tree shrew fellow!

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