Urban Mammals: Colugos

Colugos (Galeopterus variegatus)

Local name: Kubong, kubung, kubung pelanduk, kujul

Description:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Fur colour varies from greenish-grey to reddish and yellowish orange
  • Excretes by flipping its tail backwards
  • Infant clings tightly to its mother, similar to primates

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.

Urban Mammals: Rats

Malaysian field rat (Rattus tiomanicus)

Malaysian field rat (Rattus tiomanicus)

Local name: Tikus belukar

Description:

  • Brown upper parts and light grey to white underside, with a dark-coloured tail
  • Able to climb well and spends time on trees; forages on ground
  • Hides under fallen logs, in log piles, palm fronds and crowns of palm trees

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.


Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Local name: Tikus mondok

Description: –

  • Brown to brownish-grey fur
  • Acute hearing and sensitive to ultrasound
  • Good swimmer
  • Capable of rapidly reproducing hence, efforts to eradicate the species in urban areas are usually unsuccessful

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


Asian house rat (Rattus tanezumi)

Local name: –

Description:

  • Olive-brown upper-side with lighter underside; dark grey tail and nearly naked
  • Large ears and jet-black eyes
  • Can run fast and climb well; also capable of jumping up to 50cm high

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

Urban Mammals: Bats

lesser short-nosed fruit bat

Lesser short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis)

Local name: Cecadu pisang

Description:

  • Has a dog-like face with large eyes, and brown fur. Males have a distinct dark orange collar whereas females are yellowish
  • 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
  • Feeds on fruits such as mangoes, bananas and durian

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.

lesser Asiatic yellow bat, Scotophilus kuhlii

Lesser Asiatic yellow bat (Scotophilus kuhlii)

Local name: Kelawar rumah

Description:

  • 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
  • Fur is yellowish to light brown in colour
  • Well adapted to urban spaces

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

Urban Mammals: Macaques

Long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis)

Local name: Monyet

Description:

  • 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
  • Capable of swimming
  • Long-tailed macaques have several sleeping trees that they will go back to after they are done foraging for the day

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

pig-tailed macaque

Southern pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina)

Local name: Berok, beruk

Description:

  • Identified by its creamy-brown fur with darker fur along its back
  • 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.

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

Urban Mammals: Civet

Common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus)

Local name: Musang jebat, musang pandan, musang pulut

Description:

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

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

civet

Urban Mammals: Smooth-coated Otter

smooth coated otters

Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspiciiata)

Local name: Memerang licin

Description:

  • Usually encountered in family groups of 4 to 6 individuals -Feeds on fish, shellfish, frogs, insects, crustaceans, mudskippers
  • As the name goes, it has a soft and smooth fur
  • Has large, webbed feet; forelegs are shorter than the hindlegs to help it swim

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

Urban Mammals: Squirrels and Treeshrews

plantain squirrel on a tree trunk

Plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus)

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

Description:

  • Identified by two cream and black stripes on the sides of its body
  • 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.
  • Extremely agile in trees. In the city, it is easy to spot them running on cable wires between electric poles to cross from one place to another. They do this because there are no natural bridges (like overlapping branches of many trees) for them to cross.
  • Feed mainly on fruits such as jackfruits and mangoes

Activity pattern: Diurnal

Ecological function: Seed disperser

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Fruits, sometimes insects

Microhabitat: Shrubs and tree holes

tree shrew, Tupaia glis

Common treeshrew (Tupaia glis)

Local name: Kenchong, kencong, tupai muncong besar, tupai muncung besar, tupai moncong besar

Description:

  • Reddish-orange brown to olive-brown fur
  • 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
  • Territorial – They frequently scent-mark their territories. When two tree shrews are chasing one another, it is an aggressive territorial chase.

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