When we talk about squirrels, we always imagine a small brown body that’s constantly on the hunt for food. But recently, multi-hued giant squirrels currently have taken the internet by storm. And no, they aren’t mythical creatures.
Officially known as Ratufa Indica, or the Malabar giant squirrel, the species is one of four relatively hefty rodents in the squirrel family. According to the Independent, Malabar giant squirrels can measure up to 36 inches, or three feet, from head to tail.
Also known as shekru, these bright, bushy beauties are endemic to India. They can weigh up to 5 pounds or about the average weight of a Chihuahua.
These squirrels prefer the tops of trees to the ground, foraging for nuts, fruits, and flowers far from the ground for safety. In fact, it’s their technicolor fur that helps them to blend better. (It offers them some protection from predators)
“In the shaded understory of a dense forest, the patchy colors and dark hues are a great adaptation to avoiding detection,” John Koprowski, professor and associate director at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, told The Dodo. “But when you see these in the sunlight, they show their ‘true colors’ and beautiful pelage [fur].”
Wanna know something cool? These technicolor squirrels can jump up to 20 feet between trees. And they actually have food stores in treetops high above the forest floor. In comparison, most regular squirrels hide their seeds and nuts underground.
There’s not much known about the squirrels but the good news is that they are classified as a species of “least concern” by the IUCN, though habitat loss is a problem.
Check out these pictures –
Don’t they look like creatures from a fairyland?