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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Plantain Squirrel
   
   

Fig 1
 

Fig 2
 

Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5

 


 

Order : RODENTIA
Family : Sciuridae
Species : Callosciurus notatus

Head-Body Length : 17-22 cm
Tail Length : 16-21 cm
Weight : 150-280 grams

Play call

The Plantain Squirrel is extremely adaptable, occurring in a wide range of habitats including secondary and coastal forest, mangrove, plantations, parklands and semi-urban areas. Diurnal in habits it feeds mainly on fruits, especially those planted by man such as rambutan and jackfruit, however it will also eat insects such as ants.

It is easily identified by the two cream and black stripes on the sides, the orange belly, and the lack of a pale spot behind the ear. The upper side is brown. As with most other Callosciurus species, the nest consists of a spherical arrangement of twigs and leaves, lined with fur and with a round entrance hole. This can be located from around 5 metres above the ground to much greater heights where the canopy allows.

The species ranges from Southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok and Borneo. In Singapore it is abundant and has adapted well to urbanization. Six subspecies are recognised.


Fig 1 : Feeding on fruits of Macaranga sp. at Upper Peirce, Singapore.

Fig 2 : Adult of the typical form found in the Malay Peninsula and Singapore (subspecies : C. n. miniatus), with orange venter, edged with a black and a cream stripe. It has collected fibrous nesting material gathered from the trunk of a dead banana tree.

Fig 3 : A juvenile sticks out its tongue as it stretches after a midday nap (subspecies : C. n. notatus).  Photographed at Bali, Indonesia.

Fig 4 : Typical specimen from Bali, Indonesia. The colours of the venter and flank stripes are quite muted compared with specimens from the Malay Peninsula (and Singapore).

Fig 5 : Example from Yogyakarta, central Java, Indonesia with the broad, buff eye-ring typical of the subspecies C. n. diardii.


References : M2