Finlayson's Squirrel (Callosciurus finlaysonii)



HB;212-218; T;225-240; HF;46-49; E;19-23

Occurring in diverse habitats from primary and secondary forests to open woodland and plantations, the medium-sized Variable 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 upper side 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.

Range Description:

This species occurs only in central Indochina from central Myanmar southeast through much of Thailand and Lao PDR and Cambodia to the Mekong Delta of Vietnam (Moore and Tate 1965; Corbet and Hill 1992; Oshida et al. 2001).
An apparently undescribed form of this species was found in the limestone mountains of central Lao PDR (Evans et al. 2000). A small introduced population exists in Singapore (B. Lee pers. comm.).t is common across at least its Lao range living at very high densities in large blocks of habitat. Small numbers are found in fragmented and degraded patches (Evans et al. 2000; W. Duckworth et al. pers. comm.). The introduced population on Singapore is less than 20 individuals (B. Lee pers. comm.).
Countries: Native:
Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam

Habitat and Ecology:

 This is an arboreal species, found in many habitats including open woods, coconut plantations, and dense forest (Lekagul and McNeely 1988). It is very tolerant of degradation and fragmentation (W. Duckworth et al. pers. comm.). Ecological overlap with C. erythraeus seems to be extremely restricted but is know from parts of Khammouane Limestone National Biodiversity Conservation Area in Lao PDR (Duckworth et al. 1999).  Finlaysonís squirrel is extremely variable in body size and fur colour, and even within subspecies there is a great deal of variation (Lekagul and McNeely, 1988). Squirrels spent the majority of active time foraging, switching between resources according to availability. In winter, they fed mainly on buds or stripped bark, shifting to flowers when plants bloomed in spring, and to mature seeds and fruits bark-stripping became progressively more important. This activity accounted for 36.5% of the yearly feeding time. The flexibility to exploit a wide range of foods, the ability to change food habits throughout the year, and hoarding behavior are factors that could indicate a proclivity to use different habitats successfully. The female as two pairs of functioning mammae.Most squirrels in Callosciurus live in tropical rain forests, but some individuals live in parks and gardens in cities. In the trees, they build their nests out of plant material. They are solitary, and give birth to one to five young. Their food consists of nuts, fruits, and seeds, and also of insects and bird eggs.

Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

 There are no major threats to this species. This species is listed as Least Concern in because of its wide distribution, occurrence in a number of protected areas, tolerance to some degree of habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.

Conservation Actions:

A major structured program of collecting is required to clarify the complex taxonomy of this species in Lao PDR (Evans et al. 2000). There are many named and still unnamed forms in Thailand, Lao PDR and Viet Nam some of which have small ranges.