Indian giant squirrel is one of the most cute and lovable squirrels around the globe. This animal exhibits 2 - 3 types of color pattern with shades of black, brown and deep red. The body of the rodent varies from deep red to brown with white patches on belly as well as dirty white or cream colored under-parts and forelimbs. The animal has pink lips and nose. Long hairs appear behind the mouth and nose of the rodent. The eyes are colored in bright dark or light brown. The powerful and long tail is light brown with creamy white tip. Individuals of both sexes look alike, although females have three sets of mammae.
The Indian giant squirrel is a native Indian species, where this animal occurs in Satpura hill range of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The preferred habitat of this rodent is deciduous and most evergreen forests, found throughout peninsular India.
These rodents are generally solitary animals, occasionally living in pairs during the mating season. These cautious and shy creatures are usually active early in the morning and in the evening. During the midday, they rest in tree holes or large, globe-shaped nests, constructed out of twigs and leaves and typically located in trees. Each squirrel has 2 - 5 nests, found within a small territory. One of these nests is made exclusively for producing and nursing the young, while others are used as sleeping sites. The Indian giant squirrels also very agile animals, able to take leaps of up to 6 meters when travelling among trees.
The reproductive habits and behavior of this species is insufficiently explored, although males are known to compete for their mating rights. Occasionally, pairs remain together for long periods of time. Indian giant squirrels breed either year-round or several times per year. Gestation period is likely to last 28 - 35 days, yielding 1 - 2, sometimes 3 young. The young are nursed and grown in nests, located on tree branches. Their nests are as large as these of eagles. After a while, young squirrels start coming out of the nest and soon they become independent.
Factors such as selective logging, dam construction, monoculture plantation and clear felling have led to degradation of this species' natural habitat. Furthermore, the Indian giant squirrels are hunted for food throughout their habitat, particularly in the Eastern Ghats, largely due to urban development.
According to IUCN, the Indian giant squirrel is common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. However, according to the Pune Mirror resource, the number of squirrels in Maharashtra was estimated to be around 1,800-1,900 individuals. Overall, Indian giant squirrels are classified as Least Concern (LC), but their numbers are decreasing today.
Due to feeding upon a wide variety of plants, these rodents act as key seed dispersers of these species, thus benefiting the local ecosystem.