Tree Squirrel [Paraxerus cepapi]
The Tree Squirrel has a total length of 350mm, half of its total body length consists of its tail. The Coat of the Tree Squirrel varies, depending on the region it lives in. The Tree Squirrels in the Kruger have a pale grey coat colour with rust coloured legs and a white underside. The Tree Squirrel carries its long and bushy tail extended backwards.
The Tree Squirrel’s diet is mainly vegetarian but will ,like most rodents, feed on insects. Tree Squirrels have unique appendages with the front paws more hand like, allowing them to manipulate food and objects, while the hind paws are for jumping and climbing. These animals will hoard seeds next to grass tufts and trees.
Tree Squirrels are seasonal breeders in the southern regions, with mating occurring during August. Two or three pups are born from October to November. They have a gestation period of about 56 days. The pups leave the nest to feed on its own at the age of 19days.
Tree Squirrels are animals that primarily live in the trees but spend most of their time on the ground scavenging for food. When threatened, Tree Squirrels will take to the trees for protection. Territorial family groups will stay together in tree holes at night. After 9 months the offspring are sexually mature. After reaching sexual maturity, the offspring will be evicted by the breeding pair. Males are responsible for protecting territory while the female primarily takes care of the pups. A common scent is shared by grooming, which promotes social fibre.
Tree Squirrels live in savannah woodlands and many other wooded areas. They prefer trees that have suitable holes for making a nest, like a Mopani. If they cannot find a suitable tree, they will make a nest in the ground.
Tree Squirrels are found primarily in the woodland savannas of Mpumalanga, Northern Province and North West and also stretch east to Swaziland and Mozambique.