ALBINO PLANTAIN SQUIRREL

posted in: Fauna, Videography | 1

“In August 2014, I first laid my eyes on this albino Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) at a public park and was way too surprised and speechless to take any decent photographic records. I had good views of it, but it was particularly shy and secretive. Finally, our paths crossed again on the 19th of September and I was able to obtain documentary proof of this elusive squirrel as it was foraging cautiously on the ground (above).

“A brief video of this albino squirrel may be previewed below.”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
Singapore
9th October 2014

One Response

  1. Lee Chiu San

    The squirrel is definitely albino, as apparent from the pink eyes clearly visible in the photo and video. But when you encounter a medium-sized, light-coloured squirrel in Singapore, it may be difficult to establish whether it is Callosciurus notatus (our local Plantain Squirrel) or Callosciurus finlaysoni, the introduced Variable Squirrel from Thailand. There was also a light-coloured Giant Squirrel, (Ratufa affinis) more than a meter in length, native to Singapore, though it may now be extinct.

    There is a white strain of the Variable Squirrel. In the days when it was not yet against the law to keep wild animals as pets in Singapore, such white squirrels were sold here. Some could have escaped, or have been released when the new wildlife laws came into effect.

    I saw white squirrels for sale when I visited the Chatuchak Pet Market in Bangkok in 2007. I am not sure if they were trapped from the wild, or if they are being bred in captivity. Not all white Variable Squirrels are albino, though some are. Others are simply pale-coloured individuals, which still have dark eyes and claws.

    There are small feral populations of the Variable Squirrel in Singapore, the largest group being in the Bidadari area. In the opinion of some members of the Nature Society, the Variable Squirrel can pose a threat to our native squirrels because it is more aggressive and adapts more readily to an urban lifestyle. After all, never forget that squirrels are nothing more than tree-living rats with bushy tails.

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