Sometimes I get super emotional about nature and animals in particular. If you think about it, isn’t it amazing that so many species exist and live and wander around the earth as autonomous creatures with families and brains and feelings? Ugh, it’s too much for me to handle. I felt a similar sense of wonder when I discovered the Malabar giant squirrel, which is so big and beautiful I can’t even believe it’s real!
They can grow up to three feet long! In other words, they’re nothing like the ones we find here in America. The Malabar giant squirrel is exclusive to India, which is where John Koprowski, a professor and associate director at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona and an expert on squirrels, first encountered them back in 2006. “These are giants!” he told The Dodo.
Their fur can be many different colors. The Malabar giant squirrel can be orange, brown, or black, but some of them can even be maroon or purple, though those ones are rarer and seen less often. These colors help them survive in the wild and by camouflaging them from predators.
Isn’t nature amazing? “In the shaded understory of a dense forest, the patchy colors and dark hues are a great adaptation to avoiding detection,” Koprowski said. “But when you see these in the sunlight, they show their ‘true colors’ and beautiful pelage [fur].”
Even if you go to India, the chances of seeing one of these giant squirrels up close is kinda slim. Pizza Ka Yee Chow, squirrel expert and research fellow at Hokkaido University, told The Dodo that the squirrels are actually “pretty shy,” adding, ““of my friends who lives in India shared with me that the best way to see these giant squirrels is to climb up on a tree, stay very quiet and wait for them to emerge from their [nest].” Ah well, at least we can look at these amazing pictures in the meantime.
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