Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Grizzled Giant Squirrel

The grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) is found only in patches of southern India and fairly large swaths of Sri Lanka. It is quite different than any other squirrel I've seen. The "grizzled" name comes from white hair mixed in the grayish/brown bodies giving them a "grizzled" look. 
This photo of a grizzled giant squirrel from Wikipedia gives a better indication of what they look like than my photos. This is a different subspecies from the highlands of Sri Lanka and had a darker upper body than the subspecies we saw. 
There are three subspecies and I believe the two I got photos of are of the same subspecies, R. m. dandolena, found in the dry zones of Sri Lanka and India. In these squirrels, the dorsal surface is brown, they have a white rump, a maroon tinge between the shoulders, a brownish cream crown patch, light brownish cream underparts and a dark brown tail with a reddish/brown tip. The fleshy parts of the face are pink. 

The first one I saw was outside our hotel in Anuradhapura. I was talking to our guide, Sanjay, and he spotted it in a nearby tree. He actually took the photo for me as it was my first time with the new point and shoot camera and I was having a hard time finding it in my view finder. 
This photo was taken by Sanjay near our hotel in Anuradhapura. 
As we were driving out of the hill country below Ella, Sanjay spotted another one on a tree branch over the road. We stopped, I saw it, but it scrambled before I could get a photo.

Finally, we saw one driving to Yala National Park. Sanjay pointed it out to me, and even took a photo with my camera and showed it to me, and I still couldn't see it. We moved to the other side of the tree and I took photos of where Sanjay was pointing. I finally kind of saw it, but it took looking at photos to really see it.
This is the photo taken by Sanjay near Yala to show me the squirrel in the tree. The head is not visible, but two of the legs and the back are, as well as a portion of the tail. How he saw this, I can't fathom. It was quite a distance from us. 
We moved the vehicle around to the other side of the tree and now part of the head and face are showing. Note the pink nose and brown cap on the head. 
This photo is blurry, but the squirrel has moved a bit, showing more of its front leg. 
Also blurry, this photo gives the best view of the side and face. 

1 comment:

  1. It certainly doesn't look like the squirrels that run around our yard.