Thai National Parks

Mammals of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Pallas's squirrel

Binomial name: Callosciurus erythraeus, Peter Simon Pallas, 1779

Pallas's squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus), also known as the red-bellied tree squirrel, is a species of squirrel native to Greater China, India, and Southeast Asia.

Description

Pallas's squirrel is a medium-sized tree squirrel, with a head-body length of 16 to 28 cm, and a tail 11 to 26 cm in length. Both sexes are of similar size and appearance, and weigh between 310 and 460 g sigfig=2. The colour of the pelt varies considerably between the many different subspecies, but is generally brownish on the upper body with a more reddish tint on the belly, and often with some black on the tail. The precise pattern and shades of the fur are often used to distinguish subspecies from one another, but make it difficult to distinguish the species as a whole from other, similarly variable, tree squirrel species.

Subspecies

Over 30 subspecies have been identified, although not all are recognised by all authorities. (See list further below)

Distribution and habitat

Pallas's squirrel is found throughout much of southeastern Asia, including far eastern India, Bhutan, northern and eastern Myanmar, Vietnam, parts of Cambodia and Laos, much of Thailand, northern peninsular Malaysia, southern and eastern China, including Hainan, and Taiwan. Within this region, they are found within a range of forest habitats below 3000 m elevation, including tropical and subtropical evergreen, deciduous broadleaf, and subalpine conifer woodlands. Populations have been introduced in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands, France, and Japan.

Biology

Like all tree squirrels, Pallas's squirrels are primarily herbivorous. They eat a wide range of different foods, and have differing diets in different parts of their broad range. However, primary foodstuffs include leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruit. They also eat small quantities of insects, as well as occasional bird eggs.

The squirrels breed throughout the year, and may mate again as soon as they have weaned a previous litter. Pregnancy lasts 47 to 49 days, and results in the birth of up to four young, with two being typical. The young leave the nest at 40 to 50 old, and are sexually mature at one year of age. They have lived for up to 17 years in captivity.

Behaviour

Pallas's squirrels are diurnal, and inhabit much of the forest canopy, and construct both leaf nests 7 to 18 m above the ground, and, less commonly, underground burrows. Females occupy home ranges of just 0.5 to 0.8 ha, which usually do not overlap, while males occupy much larger ranges of 1.3 to 3.8 ha, which overlap with those of both nearby males and females. Like many other squirrels, they have been observed to cache acorns in the autumn.

The squirrels make calls to warn neighbours of predators, and have been observed to mob tree-climbing snakes, with females protecting young being particularly likely to join in. Males also make loud calls prior to, and after, mating.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Rodentia
Family
Sciuridae
Genus
Callosciurus
Species
Callosciurus erythraeus

Common names

  • English:
    • Pallas's squirrel
    • Red-bellied tree squirrel

Subspecies

  • Callosciurus erythraeus atrodorsalis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus bartoni

  • Callosciurus erythraeus bhutanensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus bonhotei

  • Callosciurus erythraeus castaneoventris

  • Callosciurus erythraeus erythraeus

  • Callosciurus erythraeus erythrogaster

  • Callosciurus erythraeus flavimanus

  • Callosciurus erythraeus gloveri

  • Callosciurus erythraeus gongshanensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus gordoni

  • Callosciurus erythraeus griseimanus

  • Callosciurus erythraeus griseopectus

  • Callosciurus erythraeus haringtoni

  • Callosciurus erythraeus hendeei

  • Callosciurus erythraeus hyperythrus

  • Callosciurus erythraeus intermedius

  • Callosciurus erythraeus michianus

  • Callosciurus erythraeus ningpoensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus pranis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus qinglingensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus rubeculus

  • Callosciurus erythraeus shanicus

  • Callosciurus erythraeus siamensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus sladeni

  • Callosciurus erythraeus styani

  • Callosciurus erythraeus thai

  • Callosciurus erythraeus thaiwanensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus wuliangshanensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus wulingshanensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus zhaotongensis

  • Callosciurus erythraeus zimmeensis

Synonyms

  • Callosciurus flavimanus
  • Callosciurus sladeni

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Callosciurus erythraeus - Doi Inthanon National Park

Callosciurus erythraeus - Doi Inthanon National Park

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Thai National Parks

Callosciurus erythraeus thaiwanensis

Callosciurus erythraeus thaiwanensis

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Pallas's squirrel

Pallas's squirrel

Copyright iStockphoto,

Distribution map of Pallas's squirrel, Callosciurus erythraeus in Thailand

Range map of Callosciurus erythraeus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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