The little-known Mindanao shrew mouse (Crunomys melanius) is one of 15 mice species endemic to the Philippine Islands (3). The Mindanao shrew mouse’s has dark chestnut, spiny fur on the upperparts and blackish-grey underparts (2)(4). The long tail is blackish-brown on the upperside and slightly paler on the underside, and the ears and feet are also blackish-brown (4).
The local native name for the Mindanao shrew mouse is ‘talacogun’, meaning an animal that lives in the ‘cogun’, a high and coarse grass (4).
Also known as
Mindanao shrew rat, Southern Philippine shrew-mouse.
Active during the day (5), the Mindanao shrew mouse forages amongst leaf litter and ground moss near large rocks and fallen logs, to uncover an abundance of insects and arthropods on which to feed (2).
No information on the Mindanao shrew mouse’s breeding biology and life history is available. Like other mice, the Mindanao shrew mouse probably produces many young during its very short lifespan, as it is thought to live for less than two years in the wild (5).
The Mindanao shrew mouse is considered to be threatened by the significant deforestation taking place in the lowlands throughout its range (1). Much of this species’ habitat has already been lost (1), and a mere three percent of primary forest is estimated to remain in the lowlands, as a result of extensive logging (6). It is likely that the Mindanao shrew mouse population will decline further as the habitat destruction continues (1).
Before any conservation measures can be implemented for the Mindanao shrew mouse, more research needs to be undertaken on this species, to determine its population status and to establish whether it can survive in secondary forest(1).
Habitat-wide conservation action is required if the Philippines’ forests and the numerous unique species they hold, are to persist. To be successful, any conservation action needs to be compatible with the country’s development goals, as it tries to provide for a growing human population (6).
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