Cream-coloured giant squirrel

Ratufa affinis

The cream-coloured giant squirrel or pale giant squirrel is a large tree squirrel in the genus ''Ratufa'' found in forests in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra , Borneo and nearby small islands. There have been no sightings in Singapore since 1995 and it is believed to be extinct. Reported sightings in Vietnam in 1984 are considered to be dubious.
Giant Squirrel having a feast A large squirrel enjoying the fruits of the Spiky Fig (Ficus Cucurbitina). Looks like this guy knows how to carefully remove the spiky skin of the fruit. 

This was part of a few days observation made by 1StopBorneo Wildlife team to document the ecological importance of this fig tree as a suitable candidate for reforestation projects.

 Cream-coloured giant squirrel,Geotagged,Malaysia,Ratufa affinis

Appearance

The cream-coloured giant squirrel is one of the largest squirrels. It has a head–and–body length of 31–38 cm, a tail length of 37–44 cm and weighs 875–1,500 g. On average, adults of both sexes have a head–and–body length of about 34 cm and tail length of 42 cm, while females weight about 1,250 g and males 1,050 g.

As suggested by its name, the cream-coloured giant squirrel is typically overall cream to very light orangish-brown, while the underparts are whitish-cream. In Borneo and nearby small islands where it is the only ''Ratufa'' giant squirrel, some populations resemble cream-coloured giant squirrels from elsewhere, but most have upperparts that are medium-dark grey, sometimes almost black, the flanks and thighs can have a reddish-buff tinge and the cheeks are orangish.

Behavior

This species is diurnal, active during morning and evening. They live either in pairs or alone. When it is angry or shocked, it will give a loud sound that can be heard from afar.

Although this squirrel often will make holes in trees for shelter, during the breeding season it constructs a large globular drey in tree branches, roughly the size of an eagle’s aerie. The young are born and raised in this nest.

The main dietary habits of ''Ratufa affinis'' are seeds, which it supplements with leaves, fruits, nuts, bark, insects, and eggs. The squirrel has a very short thumb that it uses to hold and control its food while feeding.

Unlike other tree squirrels, the cream-coloured giant squirrel does not sit upright with its tail arched over its back while feeding; instead, it balances itself with its hind feet on a branch so that its hands are free to control its food. In this position the axis of the squirrels body is held at right angles to the support, with its head and forequarters on one side of the branch, and the tail as a counterweight on the other side.

Habitat

The cream-coloured giant squirrel makes its home in lower montane and secondary forests, frequenting dipterocarp trees. It rarely enters plantations or settlements, preferring the forest. Although this squirrel primarily inhabits the upper canopy of the forest, it will at times come to ground in order to hunt smaller species of squirrels, or to cross gaps in the trees.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Status: Near threatened
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderRodentia
FamilySciuridae
GenusRatufa
SpeciesR. affinis
Photographed in
Malaysia