Variegated squirrel

Sciurus variegatoides

TAXONOMY

Sciurus variegatoides Ogilby, 1839, El Salvador.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

Spanish: Ardilla chiza.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 8.7-10.6 in (240-270 mm), tail 9.4-12.5 in (240-320 mm), 15.5-32 oz (440-900 g). Variable in color, shiny coat of black to grizzled yellowish gray, underside white, feet whitish speckled with black.

DISTRIBUTION

From central Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala north to the southern Chiapas in Mexico.

HABITAT

Tropical evergreen forests, nut palm forests, as well as deciduous tropical forests.

BEHAVIOR

Arboreal squirrel with diurnal activity pattern. Nest located on stems near the main trunk. Territories may range over 5.9 acres (2.4 ha).

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Fruits, nuts, seeds of hard shelled fruits, and fungi. Main components of an observed diet included the seeds of guacimo, mango, and hogplum.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Breeding period thought to be in April or May. Litter size variable, approximately 4-6 young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Some populations in Mexico considered fragile.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Occasionally hunted. ♦

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