Fun Grizzled Giant Squirrel Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Grizzled Giant Squirrel Facts For Kids

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The grizzled giant squirrels (Ratufa macroura) are the smallest member of the giant squirrel family and a native to the tropical forest of the Indian subcontinent. In India, the Indian giant squirrel's habitat includes the southern Indian states. Due to the excessive forest clearing, there is a decrease in the population. Hence, the species can be seen in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala), Anaimalai Tiger Reserve (Tamil Nadu) Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary predominantly. In the central and Uva provinces, the Sri Lankan giant squirrel is seen. The habitat includes the tropical forest of higher trees and denser vegetative zones as they are majorly arboreal and territorial.

The squirrels are omnivores and feed on insects, nuts, and fruits. The species mate once a year producing two to three kittens and are mostly seen living alone. They are extremely intelligent and freeze when under attack or hide in dense vegetative areas. The sanctuary provides a better habitat and shelter condition to the species to conserve them and protect them from their habitat loss.

If you like reading this, you might want to know about white-tailed antelope squirrel and ground squirrel.

Fun Grizzled Giant Squirrel Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-2 kittens

How much do they weigh?

3.3-6.6 lb (1500-3000 g)

How long are they?

9.8-17.7 in (25-45 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Gray, white, brown

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans And Predators

What is their conservation status?

Near Threatened

Where you'll find them?

Tropical Dry And Moist Forests


Sri Lanka And India









Grizzled Giant Squirrel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a grizzled giant squirrel?

The grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) is a squirrel. They are the smallest members of the squirrel species with phylum Chordata, belonging to the Sciuridae family.

What class of animal does a grizzled giant squirrel belong to?

The grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) belongs to the Mammalia class of animals. These small species belong to the Rodentia order and have the genus Ratufa.

How many grizzled giant squirrels are there in the world?

The grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) is listed under the category of Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) red list. According to research, less than 500 individuals are present within India whereas the population is higher in Sri Lanka. The exact number of individuals in Sri Lanka is not known as of now.

Where does a grizzled giant squirrel live?

The grizzled giant squirrels (Ratufa macroura) are mostly found in South Asia or the Indian subcontinent. In the case of India, the major population of the species is restricted to the states of Southern India like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and along the banks of the Kaveri river in Karnataka. Apart from the forests, the species are spotted in various sanctuaries such as the Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Anaimalai Tiger reserve, and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. In Sri Lanka, the species are found in the central and the Uva provinces.

What is a grizzled giant squirrel's habitat?

The species are an inhabitant of the tropical zone of South Asia. Both the Indian giant squirrel and the Sri Lankan giant squirrel are arboreal in nature and are found in both dry and moist tropical forests and in riparian habitats. The grizzled giant squirrel adaptations include minimum availability on the forest floor. The squirrels are mostly seen flattened along the branches and known to approach the ground in case of an attack or in search of food. Apart from the forests they can also be spotted in areas of dense vegetation where they travel to hunt for food and to hide from their predators.

Who do grizzled giant squirrels live with?

The giant squirrels are territorial and arboreal by nature. Often these species are seen sleeping along the branches in a spread-eagle position or flattened and motionless when they sense predators. The species are mostly seen living alone or in pairs during or around the breeding season.

How long does a grizzled giant squirrel live?

The grizzled giant squirrel's lifespan ranges from around seven to eight years in the wild. Although when kept in a comfortable environment with adequate food and shelter, it leads to a longer life for the species.

How do they reproduce?

The giant squirrels are territorial and occasionally social in nature. They are mostly restricted to the branches of trees and are seen to pair up during the breeding season. During the breeding season, the squirrels build a large nest. The males protect the nest while the females take care of the kittens. The gestation period continues for around 28 days after which the female gives birth to two to three kittens. After birth, it takes around two to three months for the kittens to be independent and until then they are generally nurtured and nourished by the parent squirrels.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) red list, the giant squirrels are listed under the category of Near Threatened. Numbering to less than 500 individuals in India, there has been a 75-80% decrease in their population trend, the major reason being habitat loss. The threatened species face habitat loss due to human activities like excessive logging, hunting for meat, making spaces for the urban areas, and natural calamities like forest fires.

Grizzled Giant Squirrel Fun Facts

What do grizzled giant squirrels look like?

The grizzled giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura) is a small squirrel of the Indian subcontinent, with white flecks all around the body length. They have gray fur on their back and lighter fur towards the chest, covered with small white flecks of hair. The tail is white while the head and the feet being black. The ventral area is seen to have an orange-yellowish hue as well with the snout being slightly pink in color.

Grizzled Giant Squirrel

How cute are they?

Needless to say, these giant squirrels being the smallest member of the family are extremely cute and attractive by appearance.

How do they communicate?

The Sri Lankan and the Indian giant squirrels are mostly seen to be living solitarily or in pairs. In order to communicate with the adjacent groups, they call out a low 'churr' which is mostly a warning call against predators. In general, the squirrels are vocal and have a specific, clear, and shrill voice. They can be heard calling for each other usually in the early mornings and during the early evenings.

How big is a grizzled giant squirrel?

These giant squirrels have an average weight of 3.3-6.6 lb (1500-3000 g) and have an average length of 9.8-17.7 in (25-45cm). Being the smallest member of the giant squirrel family, it is almost half the size of an Alpine marmot 12.12-17.6 lb (5500– 8000 g).

How fast can a grizzled giant squirrel run?

The exact speed of the squirrels is not known. They are mostly restricted to the trees and are known to run away only when under attack.

How much does a grizzled giant squirrel weigh?

An average grizzled giant squirrel has a weight of around 3.3-6.6 lb (1500-3000 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name assigned to the male and the female members of the species. They are mostly referred to by the sex that the individuals belong to.

What would you call a baby grizzled giant squirrel?

The baby squirrels are generally referred to as kittens. Otherwise, they can also be termed as the pups and the kit.

What do they eat?

Being omnivores in nature, the squirrels mostly feed on nuts, insects, fruits, eggs of birds, and in some cases they feed on the bark of the trees.

Are they dangerous?

There is no information about the species being dangerous to humans or other animals. In cases of attack by the predators, they are known to freeze and become motionless to avoid being eaten up.

Would they make a good pet?

Due to the surprising decrease in their population trend, it is illegal to keep these giant squirrels as pets. Hence, they are not kept as pets but are conserved in sanctuaries with better environmental conditions.

Did you know...

There are 12 different kinds of giant squirrels, the grizzled giant squirrel being the smallest and the black giant squirrel being the largest in the world. Some other squirrels to check out include Abert's squirrel and Douglas squirrel.

Unlike other squirrels, these squirrels do not sit straight while feeding and use their tail and their hind feet to balance themselves on the trees.

How high can grizzled giant squirrels jump?

They can jump quite high and are known to jump and leap more than 19.7 ft (6 m) while jumping from tree to tree.

Are grizzled giant squirrels endangered?

These squirrels are not classified as endangered yet, but they are a near-threatened species due to the 75-80% decrease in the population trend in recent years.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our antelope squirrel facts and gopher facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable long-eared jerboa for kids coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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