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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024



Prevost's Squirrel

Fig 1

Fig 2

Figs 3 and 4














Family : Sciuridae
Species : Callosciurus prevostii

Head-Body Length : 20-27 cm
Tail Length : 20-27 cm
Weight : 250-500 grams

Prevost's Squirrel is the largest of the Callosciurus species, which are squirrels of moderate size, with a bushy tail and a short, blunt snout.

This species occurs in tall primary or secondary rainforest, but they will also explore beyond the forest edge into nearby cultivated areas in search of ripe fruits. They also enter adjacent  oil palm and coconut plantations. They are diurnal and almost exclusively arboreal.

Besides a liking for sweet fruits, the Prevost's Squirrel also consumes insects excavated from  rotting wood such as termites,  ants and beetles.

The species is highly varied in colour and patterning : there are more than 10 races or subspecies recognised in Borneo and adjacent islands. The general pattern in most forms comprises grey to black upperparts and tail, with a dark red or orange belly. Often there is a white stripe along the flank which may be thin or thick depending on the subspecies.

Three subspecies are illustrated here : C. p. borneensis from Sarawak, C. p. pluto from Sabah and C.p. humei from Peninsular Malaysia.

Prevost's Squirrel occurs in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi.

Fig 1 : Adult (subspecies Callosciurus prevostii humei) feeding on ripe figs.

Fig 2 : Prevost's Squirrel (subspecies Callosciurus prevostii pluto) attracted to ripening rambutans near its lowland forest habitat.  Photographed at Danum Valley, Sabah, Borneo.

Figs 3 and 4 : Prevost's Squirrel (subspecies Callosciurus prevostii borneensis) at Semenggoh Forest, Sarawak, Borneo.

References : M2, M3, M5