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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2021



Three-striped Ground Squirrel

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4


Family : Sciuridae
Species : Lariscus insignis

Head-Body Length : 23 cm
Tail Length : 14 cm

The charming Three-striped Ground Squirrel is mainly a species of lowland, primary rainforest though it may sometimes venture into nearby, disturbed habitats.

The upperparts and tail are deep brown to orange-brown, and the underparts are pale. The species is easily identified by the three thick, black stripes which extend from the shoulders to the base of the tail.

This diurnal species is fully terrestrial, never venturing more than a metre above ground when navigating fallen trees.  It has been observed burrowing in surface soil in search of food - it feeds on roots, fallen fruits and insects. Nests are generally located in the rotting trunks of fallen trees.

This is a shy, nervous species : when disturbed it quickly runs off into the forest to find a hiding place.  Its alarm call is a repeated 'chi-it', accompanied by a flick of its short tail.

The species ranges from southern Thailand through Peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra, Java and Borneo. In Singapore, the species has not been seen for many years and is considered as locally extinct.

Fig 1 : A specimen from Johor, Peninsular Malaysia, pauses briefly on low vegetation, around 50 cm above ground level.

Figs 2 to 4 : A Three-striped Ground Squirrel briefly emerges onto a forest trail, before resuming its search amongst leaf litter and loose soil for food - either roots or insect grubs.  Gunung Pulai, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.

References : M3