The INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL, or MALABAR GIANT SQUIRREL, (
is a large tree squirrel species genus
Ratufa native to
India . It is
a large-bodied diurnal , arboreal , and herbivorous squirrel found in
South Asia .
* 1 Description
* 2 Behavior
* 3 Distribution
* 5 Family life
* 6 Reproduction
* 7 References
* 8 Further reading
* 9 External links
R. indica has a conspicuous two-toned (and sometimes three-toned)
color scheme. The colors involved can be creamy -beige , buff , tan ,
rust , brown , or even a dark seal brown . The underparts and the
front legs are usually cream colored, the head can be brown or beige ,
however there is a distinctive white spot between the ears. Adult
head and body length varies around 14 inches (36 cm) and the tail
length is approximately 2 ft (0.61 m). Adult weight - 2 kg (4.41 lb).
Malabar giant squirrels feeding on a ripe jackfruit
Indian giant squirrel
Indian giant squirrel is an upper-canopy dwelling species, which
rarely leaves the trees, and requires "tall profusely branched trees
for the construction of nests." It travels from tree to tree with
jumps of up to 6 m (20 ft). When in danger, the
Ratufa indica often
freezes or flattens itself against the tree trunk, instead of fleeing.
Its main predators are the birds of prey and the leopard . The Giant
Squirrel is mostly active in the early hours of the morning and in the
evening, resting in the midday. They are typically solitary animals
that only come together for breeding. The species is believed to play
a substantial role in shaping the ecosystem of its habitat by engaging
in seed dispersal.
The species is endemic to deciduous , mixed deciduous , and moist
evergreen forests of peninsular
India , reaching as far north as the
Satpura hill range of
Madhya Pradesh (approx. 22° N).
Ratufa indicus dealbatus (top) and
Ratufa indicus typicus
The number of sub species of the
Ratufa indica lineage is generally
acknowledged as four or five.
* R. i. indica Erxleben, 1777
* R. i. centralis Ryley, 1913
* R. i. maxima Schreber, 1784
* R. i. superans Ryley, 1913
* R. i. bengalensis Blanford, 1897
The rust and buff
Ratufa indica centralis (Ryley, 1913) of the
tropical dry deciduous forests of Central India, near
The buff and tan
Ratufa indica dealbata (Figure 1, top) of the
tropical moist deciduous forests of the
Surat Dangs . The seal brown ,
tan , and beige (and darkest)
Ratufa indica maxima (Schreber, 1784)
(Figure 2, bottom) of the tropical wet evergreen forest of Malabar .
The dark brown , tan and beige (and largest),
bengalensis (Blanford, 1897) (Figure 2, top) of the tropical
semi-evergreen forests east of the Brahmagiri mountains in Kodagu
extending up to the Bay of Bengal coast of Orissa. It is also seen
(dark brown) on Tirumala hills at Tirupati and in the Nagarhole
National Park and
Bandipur National Park that run alongside the Kabini
The table below lists the four recognized subspecies (based on
Captive breeding of the Malayan giant squirrel , a close relative has
indicated births in March, April, September and December. The young
weigh 74.5 g at birth and have a length of 27.3 cm. In Canara, the
Squirrel has been spotted with young in March.
* ^ Rajamani, N.; Molur, S. & Nameer, P. O. (2010). "Ratufa
IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008.
International Union for Conservation of Nature . Retrieved 22 June
* ^ A B C Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffmann, R.S. (2005). "Ratufa
indica". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M.
Mammal Species of the World: a
taxonomic and geographic reference (3rd ed.). The Johns Hopkins
University Press. pp. 754–818. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4 .
OCLC 26158608 .
* ^ A B C (Datta & Goyal 1996 , p. 394)
* ^ A B C D Tritsch 2001 , pp. 132–133
* ^ A B Prater 1971 , pp. 24–25
* ^ Prater 1971 , p. 198
* ^ Justice, James. "
Ratufa indica: Indian Giant Squirrel".
Retrieved 4 November 2015.
* ^ Corbet, Gordon Barclay; Hill, John Edwards (1992). The mammals
of the Indomalayan Region:a systematic review. Oxford: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 0-19-854693-9 .
OCLC 25281229 .
* ^ Rajamani, Nandini; Sanjay Molur; P. Ommer Nameer (2008).
IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2.
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
(IUCN). Retrieved 24 February 2010.
* ^ Ellerman, John R. (1961). Roonwall, M.L., ed. Rodentia:
variation. Fauna of
India including Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon.
Mammalia. 3 (in 2 parts) (2nd ed.). Delhi: Manager of Publications.
OCLC 78803208 .
* ^ Erxleben, Johann Christian Polykarp (1777). Systema regni
animalis per classes, or