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Flying Squirrels Essay

1954 words - 8 pages

Flying squirrels is in subfamily Petauristinae. They are arboreal and nocturnal. They do not actually fly, but glide between trees by a gliding membrane (patagium). This membrane connects the front legs to the back legs (Parr, 2003). In another word, a furry parachute-like membrane stretches from wrist to ankle. Flaps of skin connecting limbs to body provide a wing-like surface. All species have reddish eyeshine, brighter in the large species than the smaller ones which may be quite dim. The subfamily shows severe taxonomic complications, with little agreement among mammalian researchers (Parr, 2003).
Giant flying squirrels (Petaurista sp.) have highest diversity in term of richness in population in Southeast Asia. This species is large in size, being on average 422 mm long. The Red Giant Flying Squirrel is believed to mate twice a year and the young are typically born in March or August in litters of 2 - 3 (Parr, 2003).
The Indochinese ground squirrel (Menetes berdmorei) is a member of the family Sciuridae. The family has only 29 species of 14 genera in Thailand (Lekagul and McNeely, 1977, 1988; Par, 2003). The characteristics of the Indochinese ground squirrel are black mid-dorsal stripe, two or three black stripes on the sides, and reddish brown fur on the back (Lekagul and McNeely, 1977, 1988; Par, 2003). Identification is more difficult during the dry season, however, when they are much less brightly colored. They have been found throughout Southeast Asia, from the east of Myanmar to Vietnam. As a ground squirrel, it is rarely found on trees, but spends most of the time in the thick underwoods of the rainforests. (Walston and Duckworth, 2008).
The sizes of squirrels are variable between species. There are three types of squirrels which differ in size. Giant squirrels, Ratufa bicolor and R. affinis, are the biggest squirrels in Thailand and they are in the list of protected wildlife. There are medium sizes squirrels such as Callosciurus finlaysoni and Menetes berdmorei. The small size squirrel is Tamiops spp., which is the smallest squirrel in Thailand (Parr, 2003).
Habitation and Ecology of Squirrels
Ground and tree squirrels are typically diurnal while flying squirrels tend to be nocturnal, except for lactating flying squirrels and their offspring which have a period of diurnality during the summer.
Indochinese ground squirrels (Menetes berdmorei) are diurnal and mainly terrestrial, though also forages in low bushes, bamboo and scrub. Found mainly in drier, more open forests and savannah. In Thailand, this squirrel can be found in most forest types throughout Thailand, although absent from extreme northeast (Parr, 2003).
Squirrels’ diet consists of fruits and seeds. Some squirrels, however, consume insects, especially Ratufa sp. which has been known to eat eggs of birds. Giant squirrels eat fruits, leaves, insects, barks and saps. It means that they have to share available resources with other arboreal animals, particularly...

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