Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Scaly-Tailed Squirrels: Anomaluridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Lord Derby's Anomalure (anomalurus Derbianus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SCALY-TAILED SQUIRRELS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Scaly-Tailed Squirrels: Anomaluridae - Behavior And Reproduction

food trees tree gliding

Because of the remoteness of their habitats and the animals' secretive nature, scientists know relatively little about the anomalurids, members of the Anomaluridae family. However, it has been observed that the scaly-tailed squirrels clear out small branches that obstruct their habitual gliding paths. In doing so, along with their method of pruning the tops of non-food trees to keep them from crowding out their favorite food trees, the squirrels perform important functions in their ecosystems. They dislike coming to the ground, and when forced to do so move in a clumsy, kangaroo-like fashion to the nearest tree. Their gliding membranes fold away neatly when not in use, and do not prevent the squirrels from quickly scurrying along tree branches like their familiar garden-variety counterparts.


Because bark has few nutrients, the scaly-tailed squirrels who eat it have very long intestines so that their bodies have a longer time to extract nourishment. In fact, about half of an adult scaly-tailed squirrel's body weight and mass is made up of its intestines. To compensate for this heavy load, the animals' skeletons are extremely light so that they can still glide effectively.

Anomalurids compete with hornbill birds for dens, which they typically make in old, hollowed out trees up to 131 feet (40 meters) high. They also battle eagles, which sometimes come in to snatch their young for prey. Females have litters of up to three pups, which are born with open eyes and thick fur. Their parents wean them from milk onto solid food by feeding the pups already chewed food from special cheek pouches. The squirrels communicate largely by scent, and use large glands in their groins to mark areas, but observers have heard them making a twittering noise as well. Field biologists believe that scaly-tailed squirrels may reach population densities of 500 individuals per 1.2 square miles (1 square kilometer). They often spend their days clinging to the side of a tree. The squirrels usually associate in pairs, but some species have been seen collected into large groups within a single den.

Scaly-Tailed Squirrels: Anomaluridae - Lord Derby's Anomalure (anomalurus Derbianus): Species Account [next] [back] Scaly-Tailed Squirrels: Anomaluridae - Physical Characteristics

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about 6 years ago

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