Variegated squirrels are medium-sized tree squirrels. The are several subspecies recognised which differ in appearance. There is even often a considerable variation between the appearances of individuals in the same population. The dorsal colouration varies between dark brown to yellowish grey. The neck tends to be darker than other parts and there is often a paler patch behind the ears. The underparts are usually some shade of cinnamon. The tail is long and densely bushy; in Mexico it is black, sometimes with white tips to the hairs giving it a frosted appearance. In Nicaragua and Costa Rica, some individuals have pale underparts and tails.
Variegated squirrels are native to Central America. Their range extends from Mexico southwards through Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Habitats in which these squirrels occur include both dry deciduous forest and evergreen forest, secondary growth, and plantations.
Variegated squirrels are solitary and diurnal animals. They seldom descend to the ground and spend the night in a nest. Sometimes they build nests in a hole in a tree but more often construct them of leaves and build in the fork of a branch close to the trunk. These squirrels don't hibernate and spend most of their time in the trees. They are very agile and leap from one branch to another with ease. When threatened Variegated squirrels make chucking sounds and sometimes produce harsh chatter.
Little information is known about the mating habits in Variegated squirrels. The breeding season occurs in April-May. Females build nests high up in the trees where they give birth to 2-8 kittens. The gestation period lasts around 33-46 days. Young are born blind and naked. Fur starts growing after 2 weeks and in 30-32 days kittens open their eyes. Young stay in the nest within 6 weeks and become weaned at 10 weeks after birth. They are independent after 15 weeks and reach reproductive maturity between 12 and 15 weeks of age.
There are no major threats to Variegated squirrels at present.
According to IUCN, the Variegated squirrel is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.