There are numerous varieties of squirrel throughout the world. Here in Goa we are blessed to have the Three-Striped Palm Squirrel as a native member of the diverse wildlife. Vivacious and animated, their "chip chip" vocal cries can be heard almost everywhere and could easily be mistaken for the loud high pitched call of a bird. This communication call is how the little creatures warn each other of danger or any unwanted encroachment on their territory. They become particularly defensive if there's a threat to the food supply, which consists mainly of seasonal fruits and nuts, but can include virtually anything from insects and small birds and mammals to farm crops.
The offspring are born in grass constructions built in the high branches of trees, their nests are known as a drays or scurries. There are usually two or three pups/kittens born to each litter. These squirrels have three distinctive white stripes along the length of the dark back stopping just short of the thick bushy tail which is almost as long as the body, the underbelly is a creamy white while the rest of the fur is greyish brown darkening with maturity. Palm squirrels remain small in relation to other species and even when adult grow to no more than about the size of a rat. They often fall prey to larger birds and animals but these cute little creatures are a common site amongst the trees and live happily and confidently alongside human habitation. A factor in their favour and conservation is their legendary fabled association with the Hindu deity Lord Rama, giving these little rodents a sacred and protected status throughout India.
Three tiny orphaned little Three-Striped Palm Squirrel pups arrived recently at Animal Tracks and being too young to survive with no mother, their care was immediately undertaken by IAR's Abby who has a wealth of experience in successfully rearing a variety of rescued wild baby creatures.
The three little pups soon settled into their temporary home and eagerly thrived on Abby's regular feeding regime of chickoo, papaya, banana, custard apple and cerelac (a dietary supplement often given to orphans of many species that are cared for at the centre).
Time has passed and the pups have grown stronger and more inquisitive, one in particular seems to stand out as leader of the gang being more active, naughty and adventurous than the other two siblings. Now as they've reached about seven weeks old so IAR had constructed them a larger cage in which they can play and develop. These new enclosure will eventually be hung outside in a tree, it has a little flapping door which will be released giving the pups access to come and go as they please allowing their gradual transition back into the wild when they feel ready.
In the wild they would be weaned at about ten weeks old. But for now their new purpose built house will provide them with a safe, dry shelter where they can return for food and sleep until the day eventually comes when the three little squirrels become confident enough to take their final leap into the big wide world away from Animal Tracks, bidding farewell to all at the centre with particular thanks to nanny Abby.