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Description of Indian giant squirrel – Ratufa indica

Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) – complete detail. Description of Indian giant squirrel – Ratufa indica. Habit and habitat of Indian giant squirrel. They prefer mixed deciduous, most evergreen, tropical and rain forests. They are wary and shy in nature. 
Distribution of Indian giant squirrel. Weight of Indian giant squirrel is between 1.5 to 2.0 kg. Head to body length measures about 25 to 45 cm. Color of body is deep red to brown, and have white furs in the belly area. Ears of an Indian Giant Squirrel are short and round.
They have pronounced and broadened hands with an expanded inner paw for gripping. Cheeks, chest, front of the forelimbs and underparts are white, cream or orange in color. The eyes are bright dark or light brown. The nose and lips are pink in color. They have some long hairs behind the nose and mouth. The tail is long and strong, the color of tail is light brown to creamy white on the tip. Both sexes are almost similar, but females can be distinguished from males by their three sets of mammae……………
Males actively compete for females during the breeding season and pairs may remain associated for longer periods of time. Breeding occurs throughout the year, or several times during the year. Average number of offspring is 1 or 2. The gestation period is between 29 to 35 days. The average lifespan of Indian giant squirrel is 20 years.

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Click here to view State wise list of Indian state animals (symbols) – updated

Distinctive Identification

Indian giant squirrel is a Schedule – II animal, according to wildlife (Protection) act, 1972 and classified as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN.

The weight of Indian giant squirrel is between 1.5 to 2.0 kg. Head to body length measures about 25 to 45 cm. The length of tail about 20 to 40 cm.

Indian giant squirrel is one of the world’s most beautiful squirrel. They have two or three tone color scheme with shades of black, brown, and deep red.

Color of body is deep red to brown, and have white furs in the belly area. The underparts and the front legs are usually dirty white or cream colored.

Ears of an Indian Giant Squirrel are short and round. They have pronounced and broadened hands with an expanded inner paw for gripping. Cheeks, chest, front of the forelimbs and underparts are white, cream or orange in color. The eyes are bright dark or light brown.

The nose and lips are pink in color. They have some long hairs behind the nose and mouth. The tail is long and strong, the color of tail is light brown to creamy white on the tip. Both sexes are almost similar, but females can be distinguished from males by their three sets of mammae.

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Classification

Common Name – Indian giant squirrel

Local Name – Shekru

Zoological Name – Ratufa indica

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Chordata

Class – Mammalia

Order – Rodentia

Family – Sciuridae

Genus – Ratufa

Conservational Status – Schedule – II, according to wildlife (Protection) act, 1972 and classified as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN.

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Distribution

The Indian giant squirrel is endemic to India. They found in deciduous and most evergreen forests of peninsular India. They also found in Satpura hill range of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Habit and habitat

They prefer mixed deciduous, most evergreen, tropical and rain forests. They are arboreal, and spending most of its time in trees.

Indian giant squirrel is omnivorous, they feed on fruits, flowers, nuts, bark, bird eggs, and insects. They prefer tall profusely branched trees for the construction of nests.

It generally stays high in the forest canopy, rarely leaving the trees. Using its long tail for stability, this squirrel can leap from tree to tree

The Giant Squirrel’s large tails used for balancing, and allowing to move about quickly, running and jumping on surprisingly thin branches very high in the forest.

They are wary and shy in nature. They lives alone or in pairs. They travels from tree to tree with jumps of up to 6 meter. They are mostly active in the early hours of the morning and in the evening, and resting in the midday.

They build large globe-shaped nests of twigs and leaves, placing them as possible in the trees. They also used tree holes as shelter.

An individual will often have 2 to 5 nests in a small area of forest which are used as sleeping quarters, with one being used specifically for giving birth and nursing the young.

Click here to view State wise list of Indian state birds (symbols) – updated

Breeding occurs throughout the year, or several times during the year. Males actively compete for females during the breeding season and pairs may remain associated for longer periods of time.

Average number of offspring is 1 or 2. The gestation period is between 29 to 35 days. The average lifespan of Indian giant squirrel is 20 years.

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