Meet the Malabar Giant: A Beautiful Colorful Squirrel From India
What first comes to mind when you hear the word ‘rodent?’ Sure, they have acquired a certain reputation as ᴘᴇsᴛs, ɪɴᴠᴀᴅᴇʀs with insatiable ᴀᴘᴘᴇᴛɪᴛᴇs who spread ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ and ᴍɪsᴇʀʏ. But they can also be loyal and cute household pets, as many a rat, mouse or guinea pig owner can confirm.
So cute, yes. But magnificent? Beautiful? Probably not. Well, maybe these cute squirrels will go some way toward changing that! The Malabar giant squirrel, also known as Shekru, is native to India and comes quite resplendent in an incredibly dapper multi-colored coat. Their unique fur can be found in different shades like brown and orange, and maroon and purple colors rarely found in mammals.
You might think that their conspicuous colors would be a drawback by making them stand out to ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs , but in fact it actually helps them sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ. “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.”
The brilliantly blue bushy tail accounts for much of the Malabar’s length. If we measure it from nose to tail, its length is up to 36 inches, which is twice as much as the average gray squirrel we often see in our backyards. They can also weigh up to almost four and a half pounds. But just because the giant squirrel is larger than the average squirrel does not make it any less limber. In fact, they can leap up to 20 feet to travel effortlessly between close trees. Both their flexibility and their cautious nature help them to ᴇsᴄᴀᴘᴇ ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs .
According to Fox News, 39-year-old Kaushik Vijayan captured several shots of the spectacular creature while trekking through the forests of India. It was the first time the photographer had seen an animal like this, and it definitely left an impression. “The sight was an absolute feast for my eyes,” Vijayan told SWNS. “The squirrels fascinated me and I got excited to capture this beauty on my camera.”
These giant squirrels make their nests on nooks of thinner branches or in tree holes. These nests are similar in size to eagles’ nests and constructed of small twigs and leaves. Sometimes an individual squirrel, or a pair of squirrels, will have more than one nest in an area of forest. Instead of descending when they sense ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ, these squirrels flatten themselves against a branch to appear to be part of the tree. Common ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs include leopards and other big cats as well as snakes and large birds of ᴘʀᴇʏ.