Pen-tailed tree shrew

Pen-tailed tree shrew

We pretty much all eat some fermented nectar of bertam palm flower buds. Most of us do so in moderation, however, given the nectar’s 3.8% alcohol content. Not so the pen-tailed tree shrew. This tiny Malaysian critter is guzzling alcoholic goodies on the reg. Just pounding them in massive quantities like it’s pledging a frat whose Greek letters spell SPRING BREAK.

Special powers

Despite this heavy imbibing, the pen-tailed tree shrew doesn’t get drunk. It mostly uses this ability to hustle other animals in drinking games.

There’s also the matter of its tail, which doubles as a writing utensil. Just when you think your confiscation of its marker has stopped it from scrawling “PEN-TAILED TREE SHREW WAS HERE” on every available surface, out comes that tail to finish the job – and that’s a wordy message to have to scrub off later.[1]


Some would argue not being able to get drunk is a weakness. It certainly takes away one excuse for the pen-tailed tree shrew’s graffiti tendencies.

So sober right now

In full control of its faculties.

All would agree its miniature size is frequently a disadvantage. Its stature renders it ineffective at tennis, basketball, baseball, American football, Canadian football, Australian rules football, Venusian gravity football, rowing, snooker, and other sports. Shelves without obvious climbing paths are challenges for the pen-tailed tree shrew. It struggles to see at concerts. It hates taking pictures with its girlfriend when she wears heels.

Number of legs


Drink of choice

Bertam nectar. Haven’t you been listening? Oh, you’ve been reading? Well, still.

What if it fought a bear?

Unless it’s a Marion Ravenwood style drink-off, the bear would be victorious. If it is a Marion Ravenwood style drink-off, the bear might still win if it collapses on top of the pen-tailed tree shrew.

Is it noble?


Final rating

A wily, ever-binge-drinking, ever-sober graffito, the pen-tailed tree shrew is a good acquaintance to have. But it’s not the kind of friend you want to see every week, nor invite over to your place.







[1]It isn’t the only message the pen-tailed tree shrew broadcasts via its vandalism, however. Other briefer missives have included “GO MALAYSIA,” “ABBA RULES” with the As replaced with anarchy symbols, and “BONERZ.”

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