Scientifically known as Funambulus Palmarum, the Indian Palm Squirrel also goes by the Three-Striped Palm Squirrel. It is a rodent belonging to the Sciuridae family, mainly found in India and Sri Lanka. They prefer to live alone in thick forests and tropical jungles.
The average Indian palm squirrel is a few sizes larger than a chipmunk. They have whiskers on their face and legs, which give them an extreme sense of touch. They have four toes on each paw and a rudimentary thumb to help grip branches.
- The rodent's back has three distinct white lines running from head to tail. Legend has it that these squirrels earned their stripes when Lord Rama and the monkey army built the Rama Setu (bridge) at Rameswaram. During construction, a squirrel offered its own contribution by rolling in the sand at a nearby beach and shaking it off at the end of the bridge. Lord Rama was pleased with the squirrel’s dedication and petted it, leaving behind white stripes.
- The three white stripes on the squirrel's back can be seen even before baby squirrels grow their fur.
- The Indian Palm Squirrel is considered sacred in Hinduism.
- These squirrels prefer a solitary life and maintain an omnivorous diet, which consists mainly of eggs, fruit, and insects.
- Indian Palm Squirrels have brown, yellow, or tan fur.
- They can reach speeds of up to 10mph and weigh as much as 120g.
- Indian Palm Squirrels are different from other squirrels because they do not hibernate.
- The Indian palm squirrel's scientific name Funambulus Palmarum is Latin for “tightrope walker,” which is fitting. These rodents show incredible gymnastic skill when balancing on thin branches and moving at top speeds.