Prevost's Squirrel Callosciurus prevostii


Prevost's squirrel (Callosciurus prevostii), or Asian tri-coloured squirrel, is found in forest in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and nearby smaller islands, with an introduced population in northern Sulawesi. They eat fruits, nuts, seeds, buds, flowers, insects and bird eggs. These squirrels carry the fruits far from the tree and drop the seeds when finished with their meal. Spread far from the parent tree the seeds have a reduced likelihood to be eaten by other animals and greater opportunity to produce a new generation of plants.
The "typical" subspecies (for example C. p. prevostii from the Thai-Malay Peninsula) of Prevost's Squirrel are among the most colourful mammals in the world with their black upperparts and tail, reddish-orange underparts, and whitish thighs and flanks. The markings in some subspecies are duller, and C. prevostii pluto from northeastern Borneo is reddish-orange below and black above (no whitish thighs or flanks)., or Asian tri-coloured squirrel, is found in forest in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and nearby smaller islands, with an introduced population in northern Sulawesi. This species was the second most abundant of its genus found in a survey conducted by Saiful and Nordin (2004) in Peninsular Malaysia (Weng River sub-catchment), with a density of 3.29 1.54 individuals/km2. In general, this species is found at low densities in unlogged forest in Malaysia: in Danum Valley, Sabah, Norhayati (2001) found 7.3 individuals/km2, while Zainuddin et al. (1996) found 2.98 individuals/km2 in Nanga Gaat, Sarawak. In general, throughout its range it is fairly common (Han pers. comm.) and stable.
Population Trend:



HB: 252; T: 270; HF; 59

The  ears back and top of the  head  are black. The tail is usually uniform black, but some have brown hairs in the tail.. The underparts and legs are chestnut red, except for the upper thigh of the hind leg, which is white. A wide white band divides the red under surface from the black upper surface. It extends from the thigh of the hind leg to above the foreleg. A dark grey extension of this band covers the side of the face to the nose. Some red suffuses into the white band above the foreleg and the shoulder is brown red in some animals. The female as 3 pairs of mammae.

Habitat and Ecology:

This is a diurnal and arboreal species (Saiful and Nordin 2004), descending only occasionally to ground to forage (Han pers. comm.). This species can tolerate secondary forest, and often enters fruit orchards (Han pers. comm.). Davies (1962) found that they inhabit smaller trees of the middle story, though they may feed on the crowns of fig trees. Stomach contents consist of mainly pulpy fruit, though sometime arthropods are present such as ants termites and beetles. Food is usually eaten sitting along and not across a branch Banks (1931). They are antagonistic towards other squirrels and tree shrews, suggesting they are territorial. The nest is very large, located high up in a tree, made up of a thick outer layer of large twigs which they gnaw off and lined with shredded bark and a few pieces of grass; the entrance is low down on one side of the nest (Banks 1931). 2 to 3 young are born usually early in the year; the longest recorded life span in captivity is 5 years and 8 months (Medway1969)

This species is found in the dense rainforests of the Southern Thai Peninsula, eating mostly fruit, but also some arthropods, and is considered a pest of oil palm and coconut plantations (Lekagul and McNeely 1988).
Systems: Terrestrial

Major Threat(s):

The remaining habitat of this lowland species is very small. A substantial part of its native range has been replaced by plantations. In parts of Sarawak it is very heavily hunted for pets (Giman and Han pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions:

It occurs in many protected areas. Saiful and Nordin (2004) state the need for further comparative study on this species' abundance, density and distribution and its relationship to forest structure or habitat quality, spatially and temporally, in hill dipterocarp forest of Malaysia.