Tree Drummer

The tree drummer's feet are covered with sensitive bristles that can detect the slightest movement in the bark beneath.

The tree drummer, Proboscisuncus spp., is an arboreal white-toothed shrew from the temperate woodlands of Asia.

Wood-boring is the specialty of the tree drummer genus. These animals, basically shrew-like in form, subsist on a diet of grubs and adult insects, which they gouge out from crevices in the bark. They have masses of sensory bristles on their feet and very large ears, which help them to detect the movement of grubs burrowing in the wood. When a tree drummer finds a grub it drives its chisel-like teeth into the bark to make a hole big enough to enable it to remove the grub with its trunk-like proboscis. Sometimes the grub becomes skewered on its chisel teeth and needs to be carefully plucked off before being eaten.

Tree drummer eating

After making a hole in tree bark with its chisel teeth, the tree drummer removes the grub with its gristle-tipped proboscis.