The Malabar giant squirrel, also known as the Indian giant squirrel, is one of the world’s most magnificent and colorful squirrels. This stunning creature is native to India and can be found in the forests of the Western Ghats.
These Are Giant Squirrels!
When squirrel expert John Koprowski first saw a Malabar giant squirrel, also known as an Indian giant squirrel, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
John was visiting India in 6 and first thought the animal looked more like a primate than a squirrel due to its massive size.
However, this giant animal was no primate – just a gigantic squirrel. They are two times the size of an eastern grey squirrel and can be 36 inches long.
“These are giants!” Koprowski, professor and associate director at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona told The Dodo.
Not only is the Malabar giant squirrel impressively large, but they have beautifully colored fur as well.
Their gorgeous fur coat can range in colors from black, orange, and brown to purple and maroon, which is rare for a mammal. Colors like purple and maroon aren’t commonly seen in many mammal species.
Humans Rarely See The Malabar Giant Squirrel
Malabar giant squirrels rarely visit the ground and live high up in the forest canopy, jumping and leaping from tree to tree – sometimes with leaps over 20 feet!
The chances of sighting one of these animals in the wild are slim. Not only would you have to travel to eastern or southern India, but then you’d have to travel deep into the forest in hopes of a rare glimpse.
Thankfully, these gorgeous critters aren’t currently in ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ of ᴇxᴛɪɴᴄᴛɪᴏɴ, but they must be protected.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently has this species on the designated list of “least concern,” but their population has ᴅᴇᴄʟɪɴᴇᴅ. To protect this species, protection laws will need to go into effect.
“The real ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛ is a slow ʟᴏss and ᴅᴇɢʀᴀᴅᴀᴛɪᴏɴ of forested habitats as humans move in and climate change ɪᴍᴘᴀᴄᴛs higher elevation areas,” Koprowski said.
“The good news is that they have a wide distribution and seem to tolerate human presence and even some modest level of low-density housing.”
A Unique And Stunning Creature!
If more awareness and protection are brought about for this species, they can thrive.
“They’re part of a group of pretty ancient squirrels,” Koprowski said. “They’re a unique evolutionary group that’s been here a long time, which is good.”
The Malabar giant squirrel is a unique and stunning creature that captures the imagination of those lucky enough to glimpse it. Its colorful fur and expressive eyes make it one of the most beautiful species of squirrels in the world.
As we work to protect the natural habitats of these creatures, we can continue to marvel at the beauty of the Malabar giant squirrel and appreciate the incredible diversity of the natural world.