Multi-Colored Squirrels From India Can Grow To 36 Inches Long
There are many unusual and amazing things on our planet that a common person has never heard about. A vivid example of this is a giant squirrel Malabar. It inhabits South and East India and can grow up to 36 inches (0.91 m) in height.
What is so surprising about Malabar squirrels?
Unlike locals, when tourists see a Malabar, they may mistake it as a mystical creature from some fantasy novel. It has beautiful, varicolored fur and enormous size. John Koprowski, an expert on squirrels, first saw this creature in 2006 and assumed it was some kind of primate. Professor Koprowski works at Arizona University; he is an associate director at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Although he has extensive knowledge about squirrels, the Malabar succeeded in impressing even him. However, their size is not the only thing that is astonishing in those lovely rodents. Their colored appearance, the elegant coat, is also pretty notable. They usually have mixed colors: brown, orange, black. That combination has its explanation; evolution left such a feature to give the Malabar a hiding ability between tree branches. It works because its colors are fairly dark. But, from the other side, if you’ll see the squirrel in the sun, you will evaluate its brightness.
How to Find the squirrel in the Forest
As specialists say, this type of squirrel is very shy. It is not often that you can just go and see it staring at you. Nevertheless, Pizza Ka Yee Chow, a squirrel expert from Hokkaido University, reveals some of the Malabar’s secrets. Here’s what he found out from one of the locals: if you want to see this peculiar creature, you should climb to the top of the trees and wait. It is important to be quiet at that time. Sooner or later squirrels will come out from their nests; they need to eat something. The Malabar mainly eats nuts, fruits, flowers, and tree bark. Still, some species are omnivorous and eat also birds’ eggs and insects, as it says on Wikipedia. Their natural enemies are leopards and predatory birds. But, for defending themselves, giant squirrels hide from them in dense branches. For the same reason, their main activity is in the early mornings and in the evenings.
Is the Malabar in Danger?
These animals, fortunately, are not in danger of extinction. They’re just elusive for people. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) prescribes “least concern” as a level of danger for their disappearance. Though squirrels are solitary most of their lives, they meet each other during the period of reproduction. Yet, the Malabar squirrel is in need of protection. Its primary threat is the fact that forests have become more sparse as time has passed, and human presence is closer than ever. In addition to this, there is a climate impact on them in high regions. Luckily, these squirrels are moderately tolerating the presence of humans and buildings with a low-density of spread. Furthermore, Malabar is crucial to the local environment. As scientists believe, they are part of its ecosystem; they spread seeds over the forest.