Order : RODENTIA
Family : Sciuridae
Species : Callosciurus finlaysonii
Head-Body Length : up to 20 cm
Tail Length : up to 24 cm
Weight : approx 250 grams
Occurring in diverse
habitats from primary and secondary forests to open woodland and
plantations, the medium-sized Variable or Finlayson's Squirrel is, as its name suggests,
extremely variable in colour and patterning.
Different subspecies and populations can be partly black, brown,
orange-red, cream or white with diverse patterning. Typically, however, the
upperside is of darker colour than the underside. Colour variation can also
occur within subspecies or populations, and it is possible that seasonal
colour variations occur too. Around 13 to 17 subspecies are generally
These attractive squirrels are arboreal, diurnal and feed on a variety of
seeds and fruits.
The Variable Squirrel is found in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and
Vietnam. The subspecies C. f. floweri, which has adapted to urban
life in and around Bangkok, has been introduced to parts of Singapore.
Figs 1 and 2 : C. f. floweri from Singapore, where the species was
introduced in the 1980's, and is increasingly being recognised as an
invasive species which could threaten the health and ecology of native
forest. In Fig 1 the squirrel is licking its paws after feeding on ripe
Figs 2 and 3 :
C. f. annellatus from
dry deciduous forest in central Cambodia.
Fig 3 : Colour
and patterning typical of the subspecies C. f. bocourti which
occurs in southeast and northeast Thailand. Photo thanks to Eric
References : M1, M3