The Indian giant squirrel, or Malabar giant squirrel, (Ratufa indica) is a large tree squirrel species in the genus Ratufa native to India. It is a large-bodied diurnal, arboreal, and mainly herbivorous squirrel found in South Asia. R. indica has a conspicuous two-toned (and sometimes three-toned) color scheme.
The Indian giant squirrel is an upper-canopy dwelling species, which rarely leaves the trees, and requires “tall profusely branched trees for the construction of nests.” It travels from tree to tree with jumps of up to 6 m (20 ft).
They are typically solitary animals that only come together for breeding. The species is believed to play a substantial role in shaping the ecosystem of its habitat by engaging in seed dispersal.
The rust and buff Ratufa indica centralis (Ryley, 1913) of the tropical dry deciduous forests of Central India, near Hoshangabad. The buff and tan Ratufa indica dealbata (Figure 1, top) of the tropical moist deciduous forests of the Surat Dangs.
It is also seen (dark brown) on Tirumala hills at Tirupati and in the Nagarhole National Park and Bandipur National Park that run alongside the Kabini River.
These nests become conspicuous in deciduous forests during the dry season. An individual may build several nests in a small area of forest which are used as sleeping quarters, with one being used as a nursery.