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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Squirrels Aren't Just Pests in the United States

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Squirrels live all over the world.  These Malaysian Squirrels or Plantain Squirrels have the genus name Callosciurus which means Beautiful Squirrels.  This genus has some of the most colorful animals.  This one has gray brown fur and a chestnut colored belly with a black and white line between it's belly and it's other fur.  Quite a picture isn't it?

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Obviously from their name they eat fruit (plantains) but they also eat nuts, insects and the occasional bird egg. They've also been known to open antplants and eat ant larvae.  They help disperse plants by eating their fruits, but are considered pests by coconut plantation owners and fruit farmers alike.  Ah ha! seems worldwide squirrels, no matter how beautiful, are considered pests. 

It's not unusual to see Plantain Squirrels because they've adapted to being around humans on farms, in orchards, and in gardens and parks.  They are found in the Malay peninsula, Indonesia, Borneo, and Sulawesi.

Unfortunately for the Plantain Squirrels unlike their cousins in suburban Philadelphia, one of their most common predators is man.  It is not unusual for large groups of hunters to go after them both to stop their destruction but also because they enjoy eating squirrel meat.  While I know some places in the United States eat squirrels, it seems to be more prevalent there.  I'd say those red bellies are a definite problem when they're trying to hide from hunters!  Far better to be the boring gray squirrels of Pennsylvania.

So the next time you think you're alone suffering from squirrel infestation here in the United States and you're all alone being inundated by these furry creatures, don't forget, somewhere around the world someone else is sharing your pain!

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