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







Variable or Finlayson's Squirrel

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

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 recognised.

These attractive squirrels are arboreal, diurnal and feed on a variety of seeds and fruits.

The Variable Squirrel is found in Myanmar, 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 mango fruits.

Figs 3 and 4 :
C. f. annellatus from dry deciduous forest in central Cambodia.

Fig 5 : Colour and patterning typical of the subspecies C. f. bocourti which occurs in southeast and northeast Thailand.  Photo thanks to Eric Tan.

References : M1, M3


Fig 5

ゥ  Eric Tan