Oriental giant squirrel

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Oriental giant squirrels
Temporal range: Middle Miocene to Recent
Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Subfamily: Ratufinae
Moore, 1959
Genus: Ratufa
J. E. Gray, 1867

Ratufa affinis
Ratufa bicolor
Ratufa indica
Ratufa macroura



Oriental giant squirrels are cat-sized tree squirrels from the genus Ratufa in the subfamily Ratufinae. They are a distinctive element of the fauna of south and southeast Asia.


There are four living species of oriental giant squirrels:

Image Common name Scientific name Distribution
Cream-coloured giant squirrel Ratufa affinis Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra (Indonesia), Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia)
Black giant squirrel Ratufa bicolor Northern Bangladesh, northeast India, eastern Nepal, Bhutan, southern China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and western Indonesia (Java, Sumatra, Bali and nearby small islands)
Indian giant squirrel Ratufa indica India.
Grizzled giant squirrel Ratufa macroura Southern India, Sri Lanka

In prehistoric times this lineage was more widespread. For example, animals very similar to Ratufa and possibly belonging to this genus, at least belonging to the Ratufinae, were part of the early Langhian (Middle Miocene, some 16–15.2 million years ago) Hambach fauna of Germany.[1]

Skeleton of a Ratufa species


  1. ^ Gee, Carole T.; Sander, P. Martin; Petzelberger, Bianka E .M. (2003). "A Miocene rodent nut cache in coastal dunes of the Lower Rhine Embayment, Germany". Palaeontology. 46 (6): 1133–1149. doi:10.1046/j.0031-0239.2003.00337.x.