This Giant Technicolor Squirrel Can Jump 20 Feet High

first_imgScientists are not exactly sure why the Malabar giant squirrels have such colorful fur. John Koprowski, a wildlife conservation biologist at the University of Arizona and co-author of the book Squirrels of the World, however, told National Geographic the squirrel’s purple patterns likely play some sort of role as camouflage.“In the shaded understory of a dense forest, the patchy colors and dark hues are a great adaptation to avoiding detection,” Koprowski told the Dodo. “But when you see these in the sunlight, they show their ‘true colors’ and beautiful pelage [fur].” And they’re not just a sight to behold, they also boast impressive physical abilities. According to Smithsonian.com, the giant rodents are capable of jumping 20 feet between trees.And instead of  of storing nuts and seeds in larders underground, Indian giant squirrels create caches of food high up in the treetops, John Wible, curator of mammals at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, told National Geographic. Move over, Mandarin duck. A giant purple squirrel making a splash in social media for its stunningly colorful coat is the hot new Internet sensation.During a trip to an Indian forest, a photographer captured photos of exotic Malabar giant squirrels (also known as Indian giant squirrels), which have since taken Instagram by storm.Incredible #pictures of giant multi-coloured squirrels set #social media alight!#Photographer Kaushik Vijayan snapped the animals in their native habit. The Malabar Giant #squirrel – double the size of their grey relatives – live deep in the #forests of #India. pic.twitter.com/BLFRZf6VHy— SWNS.com (@SWNS) April 2, 2019Some awed users had a difficult time believing that the vibrant squirrels (their fur features colorful splashes of black, cream, and maroon), photographed in the Pathanamthitta District of Kerala, actually exist.But yes, the squirrels, which can measure up to 36 inches, or three feet, from head to tail, are real.“I felt so amazed by how drop-dead gorgeous it looked,” Kaushik Vijayan told CBS News. “It was indeed a jaw-dropping sight to behold.” Stay on targetcenter_img Although not endangered (the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Malabar giant squirrel as a species of “least concern”), their populations are still declining.“The real threat is the slow loss and degradation of forested habitats as humans move in and as climate change impacts higher elevation areas,” Koprowski told the Dodo. “The good news is that they have a wide distribution and seem to tolerate human presence and even some modest level of low-density housing.”More on Geek.com:Here’s Why Chameleons Actually Change Color (It’s Not for Camouflage)Biologist Discovers Flying Squirrel That Glows Pink in the DarkWatch: Florida Woman Rescues Snake Stuck in a Beer Can Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferWatch: Deep-Sea Octopus ‘Billows Like a Circus Tent’ last_img

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