Last week we saw a really big cat – the Asian lion! This week I thought I’d show you a much smaller animal. It spends almost all of its time in trees, so we won’t be able to get up close to it, but we won’t have to hide from it like we have some of the animals we’ve seen on our safari! It’s the Sri Lankan giant squirrel, sometimes called a grizzled giant squirrel.
You can find these little guys spread out over India and Sir Lanka. Their bodies usually grow up to about 25-45 centimeters (approximately 10-16 inches) long, but their tails can be as long as their bodies, doubling the length! I guess you can see why these “little” animals are called “giant.”
Come with me and we’ll see if we can spot one! I’ll grab the binoculars and we’ll head into the forest.
We won’t spot them in a group, like some animals. They’re not very social animals. Except when a mother squirrel has her young, they usually live by themselves or with one other squirrel. Look, do you see that blur of gray fur shooting up the tree trunk over there? Something must have startled it. I don’t hear anything.
Let’s watch and see what it does. It sure can climb fast! God gave it big hands and feet with strong claws so they can escape when they need to. Now it has reached the low branches—it just leaped from the tree into one of the other trees! That looks like it was more than six meters (over 19 feet)!
Uh oh! It scared that other squirrel in the tree it jumped to! But instead of running, that squirrel looks like it’s trying to play dead. It flattened itself up against the branch that it is on and froze.
I’m starting to wonder what might have scared the squirrel so badly. Maybe we should just be on the safe side and start walking back to the Jeep now. We can check in on the squirrels later.
To watch a Sri Lankan giant squirrel enjoy a fruity snack, click here. (Parents, please note, this is a YouTube video. I recommend watching the video on full screen to avoid offense ads and comments.)
Using the information you find here, answer the following questions:
True or False:
1. The Sri Lankan giant squirrel likes to stay busy at night.
2. The Sri Lankan giant squirrel eats tree bark, bird eggs, fruits, some insects, and nuts.
3. The Sri Lankan giant squirrel is always gray.
Research challenge: How many different species of squirrels are known in the world today?
Here is a printable notebooking page to enjoy!