The name of this genus derives from the Malay word 'tupai' meaning squirrel or small animal

These captivating creatures bear a striking resemblance to European squirrels, not only in their physical appearance, with their agile bodies and bushy tails but also in their energetic behavior. Their resemblance to squirrels extends beyond mere looks; tupaia exhibit a comparable level of energy and agility, embodying the restless and keenly alert essence of forest life. These animals are predominantly found in the dense forests of Southeast Asia, thriving in a habitat that demands quick reflexes and sharp senses.

The sensory capabilities of tupaia are exceptionally refined, with their auditory system being a subject of particular interest. Their hearing is remarkably sensitive, covering a broad frequency range that extends into the ultrasonic spectrum. This heightened auditory sensitivity allows them to react to sounds and movements in their environment rapidly, a critical adaptation for avoiding predators and locating prey. Such acute sensory adaptations highlight the evolutionary paths these creatures have taken to survive in Southeast Asia’s competitive and predator-rich ecosystems.

Tupaia exhibits a fascinating nesting behavior that involves the construction of two separate nests: one serves as sleeping quarters for the parents, while the other is dedicated to the offspring. This separation of nests is a peculiar trait among small mammals and suggests a nuanced strategy for protecting and raising their young. The nests, meticulously built-in secure locations such as tree holes, under roots, or within hollow bamboo, are lined with dry leaves for insulation and comfort. Interestingly, it is typically the males that undertake the construction of these nests, showcasing a significant investment in the well-being of their offspring.