The Philippine tree shrew is widely distributed on the Mindanao, Dinagat, and Siargao islands of the Philippines (Lyon 1913; Nowak 1991).
Philippine tree shrews are usually found inhabiting brush zones and dense vegetation along river beds. They have also been observed running and climbing in trees. Natives of the Philippines say that U. everetti make nests in the ground and in cliffs. Urogale specimens have been collected from the mountains of Mindanao at elevations ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level. (Lyon 1913; Nowak 1999)
Urogale can easily be distinguished from other members of the Tupaiidae by its even-haired round tail and elongated snout. Furthermore, it has small zygomatic fenestra and large canine-like second incisors. Compared to the rest of its family, the skull of Urogale is large and angular, with a heavy rostrum. The claws on the fore feet are long and sharp. The dental and skull characteristics indicate that Urogale is probably more predatory and carnivorous than any other member of Tupaiidae.
The length of the head and body of U. everetti is approximately 170 to 220 mm, while the tail is 115 to 175 mm. The feet are usually 50 mm long and the braincase is about 20 mm wide.
The upper parts of the animal are brownish in color, due to a mixture of tawny and blackish hair. Most specimens also have an orange shoulder stripe. The underparts of the animal vary in color from orange to orangish-red. The chest is usually the brightest part. Specimens from different areas also vary in color from each other. The specimens from Dingagat are generally light in color with a golden sheen dorsally, while those from Siargao are usually much darker.
(Nowak 1999; Lyon 1913)
Philippine tree shrews are born naked. Newly born Urogale weigh approximately 20 grams and are about 103 mm long. After 13 to 25 days, the young open their eyes. Urogale has been bred successfully in several zoos. The gestation period lasts 54 to 56 days and litters of only one or two have been reported. Adult females have 2 mammae and suckle their young about once every two days. Females are usually receptive to males soon after they give birth. (Hayssen et al. 1964; Nowak 1999).
Not much is know about the lifespan of U. everetti; however, one captive specimen lived to be 11.5 years old.
Philippine tree shrews are very active animals, especially during the day. They are both arboreal and terrestrial, and they are good runners and climbers. Their behavior has been described as resembling that of a chipmunk. In captivity, males seem to be more inquisitive than females. Usually, Urogale curls up into a tight ball when it sleeps, and sometimes even has its body over its head.
(Nowak 1999; Lyon 1913; Parker 1989; Sargis 2000)
This species is omnivorous. Urogale eats a variety of foods ranging from small animals and insects to fruits and vegetables. U. everetti has also been observed opening and eating eggs with enough skill to suggest that it does so in the wild. Their appetite is large; an individual can eat several bananas or two-ounce pieces of meat a day. Eating is usually done in the morning, but water is consumed whenever possible.
The current plans for the conservation of tree shrews in Southeast Asia are outlined in "Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrew: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan", a 1995 publication released by the IUCN. The URL for this site is http://members.vienna.at/shrew/itsesAP95-introduction.html.
The biggest problem threatening Urogale everetti populations is the destruction of their natural habitats by humans. Because they aren't well known and don't have an economic value, this species and its habitat are being overlooked by conservationists.
Urogale everetti is also known as Urogale cylindrura. The phylogenetic position of the Scandentia is still a subject of much debate. Some scientists place tree shrews with primates, while others put them with the insectivores. Further, the relationships of species within the order are also not known. (Lyon 1913)
Jason Pietryga (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Kate Teeter (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
Hayssen, V., A. Tienhoven, A. Tienhoven. 1964. Asdell's Patterns of Mammalain Reproduction. Ithaca: Constock Publishing Company.
Lyon, M. 1913. Tree Shrews: An account of the Mammalian Family Tupaiidae. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 45: 1-183.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Parker, S. 1989. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. San Francisco: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co..
Sargis, E. 2001. A preliminary qualitative analysis of the axial skeleton of tupaiids (Mammalia, Scandentia): funtional morphology and phylogenetic implications. Journal of Zoology, 253: 473-483.
Stone, D. 1995. "Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrews: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan" (On-line). Accessed October 7, 2001 at members.vienna.at/shrews/itsesAP95-introduction.html.
Yates, T. 1984. Insectivores, elephant shrews, tree shrews, and dermopterans. Pp. 117-144 in S Anderson, J Jones, eds. Orders and Families of Recent Mammals of the World. New York: John Wiley and Sons.