Indian Giant Squirrel Facts
- Firstly, the Indian Giant Squirrel obviously represents an extremely large variety of tree squirrel. It also sometimes goes by the alternate common name of the Malabar Giant Squirrel. But, its scientific name remains the difficult to pronounce Ratufa indica.
- Secondly, scientists presently acknowledge four different subspecies of the mammal. Amazingly, all of these exist on the same continent as the primary species. Though not unknown, such close association among species and subspecies remains uncommon.
- It also boasts a status that not many species can make. Within its endemic range, the animal appears to exist in fairly large numbers. Due to this pleasantly surprising fact, the IUCN currently lists the stunning animal as a Species of Least Concern.
- Finally, unlike most related species, this stunning creature is actually quite vocal. This represents yet another manner in which the Indian Giant Squirrel distinguishes itself. It also produces different sounds for such things as warnings, mating, and territorial calls.
Indian Giant Squirrel Physical Description
The Indian Giant Squirrel qualifies as a true giant of its kind. Adults attain an average body length of about 14 in (35.5 cm). But, the incredible tail adds another 24 in (61 cm). Despite its size, it does not attain a great weight. Mature adults typically average about 4.4 lb (2 kg).
Its size alone does not make this impressive species stand out to observers. It generally presents a stunning pattern of natural coloring. This holds true due to the amazing fact that it generally presents a two-toned, and sometimes even a three-toned, color pattern.
The astonishing coloring of the Indian Giant Squirrel does not stop there. Its exact pattern and combinations of colors also varies between individuals. However, these most commonly consist of various shades of tan, buff, rust, brown, and even, on rare occasions, a creamy-beige.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Sciuridae
- Genus: Ratufa
- Species: R. indica
Indian Giant Squirrel Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The almost kaleidoscopic Indian Giant Squirrel inhabits a specific portion of the country of India, in Asia. More specifically, this range consists of the peninsular part of the country, and only extends as far north as Madhya Pradesh.
In addition, the breathtaking animal actually thrives in several different habitat types within that area. Due to this, it appears in evergreen forests, deciduous forests, and mixed forests, as well. This adaptability also sets it apart from related species.
In addition, it also spends the vast majority of its time in the upper canopy of its region. In point of fact, the living kaleidoscope rarely ever descends form this location. Instead, it moves from tree to tree with great leaps, that can be as much as 20 ft (6 m).
Some of the subspecies of the creature evolved as omnivorous in nature. However, the Indian Giant Squirrel itself has a herbivorous diet. It mainly feeds on various nuts, flowers, fruit, and tree bark. In turn, it falls prey to leopards and birds of prey.