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Shrews, Rats and Mice
The nine species of shrews found in Malaysia belong to the order Insectivora. They are divided into three families: Erinaceidae with two gymnure species, Talpidae with Malaysia's sole mole species and Soricidae which has 6 species of ground shrews. Of these, the most familiar and the largest is the house shrew. Measuring only 3-5 centimetres, the Malaysian pygmy shrew is the smallest in the world. It is found in Peninsular Malaysia and also in Sabah and Sarawak. Other species include the common forest and Sunda shrews. Also found in Malaysia is the tree shrew which looks like a squirrel. There are 10 species in Sabah and Sarawak and three in Peninsular Malaysia.
Rats and mice belong to the order Rodentia, family Muridae. Most of the Malaysian species are forest dwellers, and only a few depend on man for their survival.
Pangolin and porcupines
Malaysia has one specie of pangolin and four of porcupines. The pangolin is found in plantations and also in primary and secondary forests. Its most distinctive feature is the armour of protective scales covering its whole body except the hairy underside. Porcupines have spines that normally lie flat on their backs, but which can be raised to point in all directions. Both are nocturnal creatures.
The serow, a relative of the goat, is often found on limestone hills. Both the male and female animals have a pair of almost straight horns 20-30 centimetres long, which are invisible from a distance.
Slow Loris and Tarsiers
The Slow Loris is a tubby, soft-furred creature with a very short tail. In Sabah, it has adapted well to life in cocoa plantations, enjoying the cocoa fruits. The tarsier, which is found in Sabah and Sarawak, but not in the Peninsular Malaysia, is a strange mammal. It measures about 13 centimetres long minus its 20-centimetre pencil-like tail. It has soft fur, enormous round eyes, and frog-like hands and feet, which bear nails on some fingers and toes and claws on others. Its head can be rotated through 180 degrees to face very nearly back to front. Unlike most nocturnal animals, the Tarsier's eyes do not reflect light.