Boomeekhoring - Tree Squirrel
|Boomeekhoring - Tree Squirrel
Description - The coat colour varies throughout the region. In the western and arid parts of its range it is pale grey, and in the eastern localities more brown. Head and legs are a rusty colour. Colouration on the chest varies from yellowish to buffy in the east, to white in the west. The bellies are white. They carry their long tails extended backwards.
Distribution - The southern limit extends into the woodland savanna regions of North Western, Northern and Mpumalanga Provinces, and from here eastwards to Swaziland and Mozambique.
Habitat - Savanna woodlands, inclusive of a wide variety of woodland types. It favours trees with suitable holes for nesting, such as mopane. Failing the availability of nesting crevices in trees, will sometimes use holes in the ground.
Biological - Total length is 350 mm, half of which is tail; weight 200 gram. Essentially arboreal animals, but spend a great deal of time on the ground, foraging for food. When disturbed, Tree Squirrels will always seek the refuge of trees. During the night, territorial family groups nest together in holes in trees. Offspring become sexually mature between six to nine months, at which stage they are forcibly evicted by the breeding pair. The males are mainly responsible for territorial defense, although females will also chase intruders when caring for dependent pups. Group cohesion is promoted by a common scent due to mutual grooming, an important facet of the social fibre of this species.
Diet - Primarily vegetarian, but like most rodents will take insect prey. They scatter-hoard seeds next to tree trunks or grass tufts, thereby facilitating tree regeneration.
Breeding - Seasonal breeders. Courtship and mating occurs during August. They give birth to one to three pups during October to November, after a gestation period of 56 days. Pups are weaned at six weeks and leave the nest to feed on their own at the age of only 19 days.
Other names - Setswana Setlhora - Afrikaans Boomeekhoring