Black Giant Squirrel

Black Giant Squirrel

Malayan giant squirrel

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Ratufa bicolor
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
18-19 yrs
WEIGHT
1546 g
LENGTH
35-58 cm

Black giant squirrels are large tree squirrels. Their back, ears and bushy tail are deep brown to black in color with a lighter buff-colored belly. Males in females in this species look alike.

Video

Distribution

Black giant squirrels are found in south, east and southeast Asia. They range from northern Bangladesh, northeast India, eastern Nepal, Bhutan, southern China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and western Indonesia. They can also be found in the Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam, India.These squirrels inhabit tropical and subtropical coniferous and broadleaf forests, broadleaf evergreen and semi-evergreen forests.

Black Giant Squirrel habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Black giant squirrels are diurnal and arboreal, but sometimes climb down from the forest canopy to feed on the ground. They rarely enter plantations or settlements, preferring the wild forest. These squirrels are solitary creatures. However, they occasionally can be seen in small groups or pairs during the breeding season. They do not hibernate. Black giant squirrels communicate with each other with the help of vocal chirps and barks. When they see a predator they use alarm calls.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Black giant squirrels are herbivores. Their diet consists of seeds, pine cones, fruits, and leaves.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
March-April; July-August
PREGNANCY DURATION
28-35 days
BABY CARRYING
1-2 kittens
INDEPENDENT AGE
5 weeks
FEMALE NAME
doe
MALE NAME
buck
BABY NAME
pup, kit, kitten

Little information is known about the mating system in Black giant squirrels. They breed from March to April or July to August. Females give birth to 1-2 young, which they raise in a drey (or nest), often located within a hollow space of a tree. The gestation period lasts around 28-35 days. Mothers nurse their young for approximately five weeks.

Population

Population threats

One of the main threats to Black giant squirrels is the destruction of their habitat through human settlement, timber harvesting and agriculture. Furthermore, overhunting by human predation in parts of these squirrels' range, has resulted in a total loss of up to 30% of the population in the past ten years.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Black giant squirrel total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Ecological niche

Because Black giant squirrels consume fruit and nuts they disperse seeds of large-seeded tree species, thus benefiting the local ecosystem.

References

1. Black Giant Squirrel on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_giant_squirrel
2. Black Giant Squirrel on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/19377/22261810

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