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Grizzled Giant Squirrel

Grizzled Giant Squirrel







Scientific Name

Ratufa macroura macroura

Name in English

Grizzled giant squirrel

Local Names

Sinhala: Dadulena

According to Sri Lankan wildlife experts and researchers, there are three types or subspecies of animals that can be referred to as the grizzled giant and all of these three subspecies have the segment “Ratufa macroura” in their scientific name. The differences of these three types of giant grizzled squirrels are predominantly the primary colours of their body and the subspecies of the grizzled giant squirrel have been classified based on their colour variations (Ellerman 1961). In Sri Lanka, the creature is also referred to as the Sri Lankan giant squirrel in English and as the “dadulena” in Sinhalese.

Physical Attributes
Physical attributes of the grizzled giant squirrel include the primary body colour with variations of black, grey, brown and even red. The top portion of the tail of the grizzled giant squirrel is white in colour and this is what gives the name of “grizzled” for these creatures. The colour of the body varies from the environment and geographic location they are found in.

Two key physical characteristics that enable easy recognition of these squirrels include their long tails, which facilitates a solid ability of balance, and their broad hands, which facilitates climbing. Furthermore, large claws for gripping branches are also present in grizzled giant squirrel.

Habitat and Environment
When considering the habitat an environment of grizzled giant squirrels, one fact, that is that these creatures are arboreal, is vital. Wildlife enthusiasts and other observers would most definitely spot these small creatures on trees. Forestlands and woodlands, where trees are found in abundance, form the ideal habitat for these rodents. Specifically, the grizzled giant squirrel is found in tropical dry deciduous and montane forests. Observers have identified these creatures only in Sri Lanka and southern India. All of the tree subspecies are found in Sri Lanka while only one subspecies was identified in southern India.

Lifespan and Reproduction

Behaviour and Feeding
Classified as rodents, the grizzled giant squirrel is a highly territorial creature. It is adept in climbing and it lives predominantly on trees while feeding on fruits, nuts, insects, bird eggs, and barks of certain trees.
Cultural and Conservation Status
The grizzled giant squirrel has been assigned a “Near Threatened” IUCN status and its popularity is, however, not widespread. The main threats for this particular species include the loss of habitat due to human activities and hunting.