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The Spectacular Multi Colored Malabar Giant Squirrel

October 10, 2023

The multi-colored Malabar giant squirrel, or the Indian giant squirrel, is a magnificent creature found in the Western Ghats of India. With its distinctive colorful coat of yellow, black, and white, this squirrel is truly a sight to behold. It has a long furry tail and a body of up to three feet in length, making it one of the largest species of squirrels in the world.

The Malabar giant squirrel is easily identifiable by its bright orange-brown fur, which serves as camouflage among the trees in its habitat. It is primarily arboreal, spending most of its time in the canopy of tall trees. Malabar giant squirrel, also known as Shekru, is a stunning creature that has long captured the fascination of both nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.

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In addition to its size, the Malabar giant squirrel is known for its impressive leaps, which it uses to move between trees. It is also a skilled climber and can easily navigate through the branches and twigs of its forest home.

In this blog, let’s dive into the captivating world of the Malabar Giant Squirrel, exploring different segments of their lives:

Behavior and Habitat

Despite its impressive size and acrobatic abilities, the Malabar giant squirrel is a shy, reclusive creature, rarely seen in the wild. It is mainly active during the day, and spends its days high up in the trees of the tropical rainforest. It feeds on the buds, flowers, and fruits of the trees, and it also makes nests from small twigs and leaves.

It is known for its ability to flatten itself against the trunk of a tree when it feels threatened or needs to rest. This behavior helps the squirrel to blend in with its surroundings and makes it more difficult for predators to spot. To flatten itself against a tree, the squirrel first positions itself facing the trunk with its tail wrapped around the tree. It then tucks its legs and head close to its body, using its strong and flexible tail to anchor itself in place. The result is a flattened, triangular shape that is almost indistinguishable from the bark of the tree.

The Malabar giant squirrel is found in a narrow strip of forest along the Western Ghats, an area that is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. The state of Maharashtra, has chosen the Indian giant squirrel as its official state animal.

Characteristics of the Malabar Giant Squirrel:

Vibrant Coat:

One of the most striking features of the Malabar Giant Squirrel is its coat, which is a vivid blend of colors ranging from shades of red, orange, black, and sometimes even purple. This stunning coloration helps it blend in seamlessly with the lush foliage of the forests it calls home.

Size and Appearance:

As the name suggests, these squirrels are notably large, with bodies measuring up to 14 inches and tails extending to an impressive 2 feet. Their long, bushy tails serve as balance aids while they traverse treetops.

Acrobatic Skills:

Malabar Giant Squirrels are renowned for their acrobatic prowess. They can leap great distances from tree to tree, thanks to their strong leg muscles and sharp claws, making them appear as graceful as aerial acrobats.

Also, Meet the Pygmy Marmosets: The Adorable 'Finger Monkeys' of the Rainforest

Food Habits:

These arboreal creatures have a predominantly herbivorous diet. Their menu consists of a variety of fruits, nuts, leaves, flowers, and occasionally insects. They play a crucial role in forest ecosystems as seed dispersers, helping to maintain biodiversity by facilitating plant reproduction.

Family Life:

Malabar Giant Squirrels are typically solitary creatures, coming together only during the breeding season. Mating pairs can be seen performing breathtaking aerial chases and acrobatic displays high in the treetops. After a gestation period of about 28-45 days, the female gives birth to a litter of 1-2 offspring.

Life Duration:

In the wild, Malabar Giant Squirrels have an average lifespan of around 8-10 years. However, their longevity can vary depending on factors such as predation, habitat, and availability of food.

Another Interesting Read: The Exotic and Colorful Peacock Spider: A Fascinating Miniature Marvel

Can You Keep Malabar Giant Squirrels as Pets?

While their captivating appearance and acrobatic talents might tempt some to consider them as pets, it's essential to understand that these squirrels are best left in their natural habitat for several reasons:

Legal Restrictions: In many countries, including India, it is illegal to keep native wildlife as pets without special permits. These regulations are in place to protect both the animals and their ecosystems.

Complex Care: Malabar Giant Squirrels have specific dietary, habitat, and social requirements that are challenging to replicate in captivity. Providing for their needs can be complex and costly.

Stress and Health Concerns: Wild animals, including squirrels, are adapted to life in the wild. Captivity can lead to stress, behavioral problems, and health issues, which can be detrimental to the animal's well-being.

Conservation: These squirrels are essential to the ecosystems they inhabit, helping maintain the balance of plant life through seed dispersal. Removing them from the wild can disrupt these delicate systems.

Conservation Efforts

Sadly, the Malabar giant squirrel is classified as an endangered species due to deforestation and other threats. Conservationists are working hard to protect their habitat and ensure their survival. In recent years, several programs have been initiated to better understand the behavior and habitat of this unique species. With continued efforts, it is hoped that this iconic species will continue to thrive in the forests of the Western Ghats for generations to come.

This beautiful creature is an important part of our natural world, and it is up to us to protect it and ensure its survival.

Also Check: The Crucial Role of Wildlife Conservation in Preserving Our Planet

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