Sunday, December 11, 2011

Indian Palm Squirrel

Funambulus palmarum
Indian Palm Squirrels are also sometimes referred to as Three-Striped Palm Squirrels, due to the patterning on their backs. They are found as a native species in India and Sri Lanka, and were intoduced to Australia where they have become quite the nuisance.

Did you know that the Indian Palm Squirrel has it's own Hindu legend? According to the story, a bridge was being built by Lord Rama, and a small squirrel decided to help by carrying small rocks and pebbles, all the while chanting Rama's name. He was so impressed by the contribution of this tiny animal that he stroked her back, leaving stripes where his fingers would've touched.

Indian Palm Squirrels are a very adaptable, and are able to live in a variety of habitats. Unsurprisingly, they have taken to urban areas just as well as wild ones. They eat fruits, nuts, insects, and eggs.

As previously mentioned, Indian Palm Squirrels have become an invasive species in Australia. They consume crops, eat the eggs of native birds, and have few natural predators. It is illegal to import, possess, or sell them within the country.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Indian, Australia (introduced)
Size : Length up to 8in (20cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Rodentia
Family : Sciuridae -- Genus : Funambulus -- Species : F. palmarum

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