Categories
Species Guide: Urban Mammals

Colugos

Written by Syuhada Sapno
Photo by Priscillia Miard from Night Spotting Project

Sunda colugo, Kubong

Galeopterus variegatus

Commonly known as a ‘flying lemur’ but the animal does not fly and it is not a lemur. In fact, it is more closely related to primates than marsupials. It is able to glide for long distances as it possesses a thin membrane that stretches all the way to the ends of its tail and each limb. Its fur colour varies from greenish-grey to reddish and yellowish orange.
It excretes by flipping its tail backwards. The infant clings tightly to its mother, similar to primates.

Local name: Kubong, kubung, kubung pelanduk, kijul

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Tree productivity

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Folivorous

Food items: Leaves and young shoots, lichen

Microhabitat: Found high up in trees. Sunda colugos sleep on the trunk of the tree or can be spotted hanging on a branch. They can also be found on tree trunk as low as 50cm.

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Mammals

Rats

Malaysian field rat (Rattus tiomanicus)

Malaysian field rat, Tikus belukar
Rattus tiomanicus

It has brown upper parts and light grey to white underside, with a dark-coloured tail. It is able to climb well and spends time on trees, and forage on ground. Malaysian field rat hides under fallen logs, in log piles, palm fronds and crowns of palm trees

Photo by bgenet (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/42229181)

Brown rat, Tikus mondok
Rattus norvegicus

It has brown to brownish-grey fur. It has acute hearing and is sensitive to ultrasound. It is also a good swimmer. The brown rat is capable of rapidly reproducing hence, efforts to eradicate the species in urban areas are usually unsuccessful.

Photo by davidgil (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37155838)

Asian house rat
Rattus tanezumi

The colour of its fur is olive-brown upper-side with lighter underside, a dark grey tail and it is nearly naked. It has large ears with jet-black eyes. It can run fast and climb well. The asian house rat is also capable of jumping up to 50cm high.

Local name: Tikus belukar

Activity pattern: Mainly nocturnal

Ecological function: Scavenger

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour:  Omnivore

Food items: Vegetables including oil palm fruits, animal matter

Microhabitat: Found in a wide variety of habitats including coastal forests, especially mangroves, secondary forests and grasslands. It has also adapted to plantations such as rubber and sometimes oil palm.

Local name: Tikus mondok

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Scavenger

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour:  Omnivore

Food items: Consumes almost anything including scrambled eggs, raw carrots, cooked corn kernels

Microhabitat: Sewage, holes in houses, drains

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Scavenger

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour:  Omnivore

Food items: Consumes almost anything including farmyard wastes and food scraps

Microhabitat: Can be found in various man-made habitats including agricultural and urban areas

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Mammals

Urban Mammals: Bats

Written by Syuhada Sapno
Photos by Syuhada Sapno

Lesser short-nosed fruit bat, Cecadu pisang
Cynopterus brachyotis

It has a dog-like face with large eyes, and brown fur. Males have a distinct dark orange collar whereas females are yellowish. It primarily feeds on fruits by sucking out the juices and soft pulp. It spits out seeds and fibrous matter in a flat and oval-shaped pellet. The lesser short-nosed fruit bat feeds on fruits such as mangoes, bananas and durian.

Lesser Asiatic yellow bat, Kelawar rumah
Scotophilus kuhlii

The difference between this species and the lesser short-nosed fruit bat is that this one has a blunt muzzle whereas the fruit bat has a slightly pointed snout. Its fur is yellowish to light brown in colour. It is well-adapted to urban spaces.

Local name: Cecadu pisang

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Seed disperser, pollinator

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour:  Omnivore

Food items: Small fruits, figs, nectar

Microhabitat: Normally roosts at ceilings of homes. You can identify a roosting site by looking for droppings they leave behind. In the wild, they roost on the underside of a broad leaf such as banana leaf.

Local name: Kelawar rumah

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Insectivore

Food items: Insects like bees, wasps, flies, beetles, moths

Microhabitat: Roosts in groups in hollow trees, attics, abandoned buildings

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Mammals

Urban Mammals: Macaques

Written by Syuhada Sapno
Photos by Syuhada Sapno & Macaca Nemestrina Project

Long-tailed macaque, Monyet
Macaca fascicularis

It is light brown or greyish fur and a long tail. A troop could comprise up to 30 individuals. Sometimes they disperse into small groups when they are out foraging. It is capable of swimming. Long-tailed macaques have several sleeping trees that they will go back to after they are done foraging for the day.

Southern pig-tailed macaque, Beruk
Macaca nemestrina

Identified by its creamy-brown fur with darker fur along its back. The length of tail is the main characteristic used to differentiate between this species and the long-tailed macaques. This species has a short tail that tends to look like a pig’s, hence its common name.

Local name: Monyet

Activity pattern: Diurnal

Ecological function: Seed disperser

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Fruits, leaves, shellfish, crabs, human leftovers

Habitat: Primary and secondary forests, mangroves, plantations and urban areas

Local name: Berok, beruk

Activity pattern: Diurnal

Ecological function: Seed disperser, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Fruits, small vertebrates and invertebrates

Habitat: Inhabits primary forest but ventures to cultivated areas when foraging

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Mammals

Civet

Written by Syuhada Sapno
Photo by Syuhada Sapno

Common palm civet, Musang pandan

Paradoxurus hermaphroditus

Has three dark stripes on its back and a dark mask across the eyes and nose. It usually nests in hollow trees. Mainly feeds on fruits such as mangoes, but also feeds on other invertebrates such as worms and insects

Local name: Musang jebat, musang pandan, musang pulut

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Seed disperser, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Fruits, worms, insects

Microhabitat: Occurs in fruit orchards, near housing areas and sometimes found inhabiting roof spaces

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Mammals

Smooth-coated Otter

smooth coated otters

Written by Syuhada Sapno
Photo by Fariman S., GreenSmiths

Smooth-coated otter, Memerang licin

Lutrogale perspiciiata

They are usually encountered in family groups of 4 to 6 individuals. These otters feed on fish, shellfish, frogs, insects, crustaceans, mudskippers. As the name goes, it has a soft and smooth fur. They have large, webbed feet; forelegs are shorter than the hindlegs to help it swim. 

Local name: Memerang licin

Activity pattern: Diurnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Carnivore

Food items: Fish, shellfish, crustaceans

Microhabitat: Can be found in rivers, lakes, mangroves. There are many sightings of this animal in Klang Valley rivers and Penang island

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Mammals

Squirrels and Treeshrews

Written by Syuhada Sapno
Photos by Syuhada Sapno

plantain squirrel on a tree trunk

Plantain squirrel, Tupai kampong
Callosciurus notatus

Identified by two cream and black stripes on the sides of its body. It is commonly mistaken for the common treeshrew (Tupaia glis) but the  plantain squirrel has a bushier tail and a more rounded face than the common tree shrew. In the city, it is easy to spot them running on cable wires between electric poles to cross from one place to another. It feeds mainly on fruits such as jackfruits and mangoes.

Common treeshrew, Tupai muncung besar
Tupaia glis

It has reddish-orange brown to olive-brown fur. It is commonly mistaken for the plantain squirrel however, the long and pointed snout indicates that it is a treeshrew. Agile in trees but more often found on the ground. Common treeshrews are territorial. When two tree shrews are chasing one another, it is an aggressive territorial chase.

Local name: Tupai kampong, tupai kampong, tupai merah, tupai pinang

Activity pattern: Diurnal

Ecological function: Seed disperser

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Fruits, sometimes insects

Microhabitat: Shrubs and tree holes

Local name: Lotong kelabu

Activity pattern: Diurnal

Ecological function: Seed disperser

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Insects and fruits

Microhabitat: Shrubs and tree holes