Who would have thought I would have been so excited to get a squirrel on the camera trap? I love squirrels, but here in NC, I see them every day. And they are grey – not pretty colors! This isn’t just any squirrel, it’s a Malabar or Indian giant squirrel!
Apparently these guys were a recent Internet sensation due to some vibrant photos an Indian photographer posted on social media. This squirrel is so colorful, that when you Google it, one of the first things that pop up is a Snopes webpage asking if it is real. Yes, it is real. Our camera trap only got the back side of this squirrel so I added some of Kaushik Vijayan’s photos (from SWNS) so you can bask in its glory!
The Malabar giant squirrel is endemic to India, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world. They have a somewhat large range and can be common where they are found, however, their populations are becoming more fragmented and are declining. Its main threats are hunting (although it is protected from hunting) and habitat loss. This species does not do well in human-altered landscapes (unlike the grey squirrel here in NC) and is typically not found in agricultural landscapes.
They are usually found higher up in the trees and are pollinators. Now you know that Indian has giant squirrels and that they are also really pretty.
We’ve photographed so many cool animals on the camera traps in India. Check out my favorite photos (including tigers!) in “13 Amazing Camera Trap Photos from India Taken By Kids.”
Stephanie Schuttler is a wildlife biologist with 17 years of experience in mammal ecology and conservation, education, and outreach. Read her inspirational story, “My Unexpected Journey Into Science” to find out how she went from the daughter of a jeweler to a Ph.D. in wildlife biology. Feel free to contact Stephanie here.