13th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
An unexpected deposit - the tree shrew and pitcher plant, Mount Kinabalu
I was climbing mount Kinabalu in Borneo when I spotted a tree shrew (Dendrogale melanura) close to the trail. Our guides told me how these shrews have a fascinating relationship with the giant pitcher plants found on the mountain. There was a patch of these cup-shaped plants close-by and so I sat and waited, it wasn’t long before another tree shrew appeared. The shrew effortlessly jumped up onto the rim, and began licking the nectar from the lid of the pitcher. He stopped to peer round the lid and looked at me, before heading off into the forest. On inspection we realised that in return for the sweet treat, the shrew had used the plant as a toilet - providing it with a vital source of nutrients on these rain washed slopes.
© Paul Williams.
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||Nov. 30, 2015, 6:24 p.m.
||Canon EOS 7D