When squirrel expert John Koprowski first saw a Malabar giant squirrel, also known as an Indian giant squirrel, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
The animal looked more like a primate than a squirrel to its massive size, thought John when visiting India.
But the size of the Malabar giant squirrel isn’t the only thing that’s impressive, the color of its fur is also unique – See the amazing gallery below:
“These are giants!” Koprowski said professor and associate director at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona.
In fact, it is just a very large squirrel, almost twice the size of the eastern gray squirrel, and is different from squirrels were used to seeing.
They can be a whole range of colors, such as black, brown, orange, maroon, and purple.
Maroon and purple shades are actually unusual in mammals which makes it even more special.
These bright colors and beautiful patterns aren’t just pretty to look at, but it also helps them survive in the wild.
“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]”.
According to Wikipedia, their ‘diet includes fruit, flowers, nuts, and tree bark. Some subspecies are omnivorous, also eating insects and bird eggs.’
Malabar giant squirrels rarely visit the ground and live high up in the forest canopy, jumping and leaping from tree to tree, sometimes with leaps over 20-feet!
Thankfully, these gorgeous critters aren’t currently in danger of extinction, but they’ll need to be protected
The chances of sighting one of these animals in the wild are very slim.
Not only would you have to travel to eastern or southern India, but you’d also have to travel deep into the forests.