The northern palm squirrel is a very adaptable species. It occurs in tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forest, montane forests to altitudes of 4,000 m (13,123 ft), scrublands, plantations, grasslands, arable land, rural gardens and urban areas.
And if this applies to humans, it's no small wonder how would meek and helpless creatures such as squirrels survive in this cut-throat city! Indian or Three Striped Palm Squirrels are highly adaptable and vociferous mammals, who grudgingly share their habitat with other animals such as owls, bats, domestic dogs, black kites and crows. But they seem to have a special dislike for cats and snakes, which can climb right into their cotton-filled nests and gulp up the litter of two-three pups.
The Indian palm squirrel is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
It is found in the Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands (where it is introduced), India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran. In India, it is fairly common in urban areas, even in large cities such as Delhi and Kolkata. Two subspecies, Funambulus pennantii argentescens and Funambulus pennantii lutescens, were suggested by Wroughton in addition to the nominate race; however, more recent workers do not make this distinction.
Squirrels are considered sacred in India and are not to be harmed. They are even fed by many Hindu families, mainly because of their association with Lord Rama.
Indian palm squirrels are suited to large areas of Queensland and could establish here if introduced. To prevent Indian palm squirrels from establishing in Queensland, restrictions apply to their import, possession and sale.
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In India, the southern boundary of the species' range is not clearly identified, and recent records suggest it may extend as far as Madanapalli. The southern boundary on the Western Ghats side clearly extends to localities including Dharwar and Mysore, in Karnataka.
Five-striped palm squirrel, northern palm squirrel, three-striped palm squirrel, jungle-striped squirrel
hahahaha! I thought cats just chased the bugs around the house. I didn’t know they actually ate them!
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I wonder if they are at all related to the chipmunks that we have in Canada. All our chipmunks have stripes whereas our squirrels don’t.
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The palm squirrel generally enjoys spring flings and late summer romance, with the majority of mating in March and April and between July and September. But breeding can take place year-round, as these guys don't hibernate. Females usually have two or three litters of one to five babies per year, and males fight over females. After mating, though, the male squirrels usually split after a day or two as the females settle in for 40- to 45-day pregnancies and a couple months of weaning the young.
A legend explains the stripes on the back of most of the squirrels. During the construction of the Rama Setu (bridge) at Rameswaram by Lord Rama and the Vanara Sena, a little squirrel also contributed in its own little way. It rolled in the beach sand and then ran to the end of the bridge to shake off the sand from its back (chanting Lord Rama's name all along).
The Indian Palm Squirrel, the Eastern Chipmunk, the Red Squirrel and even my frightening Eastern Gray Squirrel are all part of the same family, Scuridae. Obviously they are all different species but they definitely related somewhere along the lines.
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Cute squirrel and I like the legend about the stripes. I visited India in 1997 for ten days and don’t remember seeing squirrels. I’m hoping I’ll get back in Nov for 6 months…I’ll look for them!
Unlike some other species of squirrel, the Indian palm squirrel does not hibernate.
Native to India and neighbouring countries, palm squirrels are bushy-tailed squirrels with prominent stripes.
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This three stripped Indian Palm Squirrel is found naturally in India and Srilanka.
Sciurus brodei Blyth, 1849 Sciurus indicus Lesson, 1835 Sciurus kelaarti Layard, 1851 Sciurus palmarum Linnaeus, 1766 Sciurus pencillatus Leach, 1814
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Lord Rama, pleased by the creature's dedication, caressed the squirrel's back and ever since, the Indian squirrel carried white stripes on its back, which are believed to be the mark of Lord Rama's fingers. Lord Rama and the squirrel are mentioned in one of the hymns of the Alvars.
The gestation period is 34 days; breeding takes place in grass nests during the autumn. Litters of two or three are common, and average 2.75. The young are weaned after about 10 weeks and are sexually mature at 9 months. Adult weight is 100 g. Little is known about their longevity, but one specimen lived 5.5 years in captivity.
Numbers of squirrels have risen in the last few decades due to easy nesting spaces, such as electric meter and air conditioner boxes, tree holes, run down cars and broken pipes, where they can create cozy sleeping or nesting quarters. But if you grow jamun, jackfruit, mango, ber and vilayti badam trees, along with the red silk cotton or kapok trees, then you have created the perfect squirrel nurseries.
Indian Palm Squirrel
You will definitely have to keep me posted if you happen to see any squirrels (or any other wildlife for that matter) during your upcoming trip to India.
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Foraging and feeding Indian Palm Squirrels are a photographer's delight, as they sit on their haunches and pick and nibble with their chisel- like incisors, holding the food in their shorter forelimbs. Don't try to go and pick up a fallen squirrel, as even a pup can give you a nasty bite which can even break your finger off your hand!
I will definitely take your word for it though Sparkle. I don’t think I am going to be chowing down on some bugs anytime soon.
These little ones are full of energy.. nice capture
I am sure a 6 month trip in India would be amazing. You must be excited to get going!
Sure, most Bollywood fans must have heard that old, yet famous song, "Aye dil hai mushkil jeena yahan, zara hatke jara bachke ye hai bambai meri jaan" — loosely translating to, "It's tough to survive in this city of Mumbai, you ought to beware and be alert!"
Bugs are a great source of protein. I highly recommend them.
These squirrels eat mainly nuts and fruits. They are fairly vocal, with a cry that sounds like "chip chip chip" when danger is present. They are opportunists in urban areas, and can be easily domesticated and trained to accept food from humans. Naturally active, their activity reaches levels of frenzy during the mating season. They tend to be very protective of their food sources, often guarding and defending them from birds and other squirrels.