The colourful Malabar giant squirrel is real.
No one finds squirrels exotic or interesting. They’re common animals, so check your backyard now.
However, in India’s forests, you may find a stunning squirrel.
Meet Malabar giant squirrel:
This squirrel is so colourful it’s hard to believe it’s real.
Brown, orange, maroon, and purple fur are rare in mammals.
They survive because their bright colours make them stand out to predators.
“In the shaded understory of a dense forest, the patchy colors and dark hues are a great adaptation to avoiding detection,” squirrel expert John Koprowski told The Dodo.
“But when you see these in the sunlight, they show their ‘true colors’ and beautiful pelage.”
They’re the world’s largest, most colourful squirrels.
Their head and body can reach 10 inches to 1 foot 8 inches, with a longer tail.
They’re beautiful, but they’re rare. They hop between trees in Indian forests. They’re shy.
The IUCN Red List lists them as “least concern,” but deforestation could threaten them.
John Koprowski says these squirrels always survive.
“They have a wide distribution and seem to tolerate human presence and even some modest level of low-density housing,” he told The Dodo.
“They’re part of a group of squirrels that is pretty ancient. They’re a unique evolutionary group that’s been here a long time, which is a good thing.”