Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - The Meratus Mountains in South Kalimantan Province, which is a wet tropical forest, is home to one of the smallest squirrels in the world, a researcher from the Indonesian Biodiversity at Lambung Mangkurat University, Banjarmasin, Zainudin Basriansyah, said here on Monday.

He explained that the 2017 Barito River Expedition Team of the River Community (Melingai) and Rivers Center (BWS) II found one of the smallest squirrels in the world called Bornean pigmy squirrel or Exilisciurus exilis.

"This species is found throughout Kalimantan, especially in environments more than 1 thousand meters above sea level. Although the squirrel is widespread, ecologically this species remains a mystery to researchers," Zainudin stated.

According to him, there are six subspecies of small squirrels in Asia, of which three are found in Kalimantan. Of these three, two of them are endemic to Kalimantan. Thus, Kalimantan deserves to be the world's center of biological and ecological information of small squirrels.

"The biological and ecological data of the squirrel are still minimum," Zainudin noted.

He pointed out that the squirrel living in the lowland forest has a length of 73 mm and a weight of 17 grams. Although active during the day, this species is quite difficult to find in a disturbed habitat.

"This species can actually be tamed as they get closer to us," Zainudin remarked, adding that this squirrel feeds on moss crust and small insects.

Currently, 222 species of mammals are recorded to inhabit Kalimantan of which 44 species are endemic.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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