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Mammalia > Rodentia > Sciuridae > Ratufa

Ratufa bicolor Sparrman, 1778 – Malayan Giant Squirrel

Taxonomic Notes:

It is also known as Black Giant Squirrel.

There is some taxonomic ambiguty over subspecies recognition for this species. There are currently 10 subspecies recognized namely R. b. bicolor (previously recognized subspecies albiceps, baliensis, humeralis, javensis, leschnaultii, major, and sondaica are now synonymized with bicolor), R. b. condorensis, R. b. felli, R. b. gigantea (previously known subspecies lutrina and macruroides are now synonymized with gigantea), R. b. hainana (subspecies stigmosa is now synonymized with hainana), R. b. leucogenys (subspecies sinus is now synonymized with leucogenys), R. b. melanopelpa (earlier subspecies anambae, angusticeps, dicolorata, fretensis, penangensis, peninsulae, and tiomanensis are now synonymized with melanopelpa), R. b. palliata (batuana and laenata are now synonymized with palliata), R. b. phaeopelpa (celaenopelpa and marana are now synonymized with phaeopelpa), and R. b. smithi.

This species is listed as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (

Indian and global distribution:
records (based on images):
Sexual, seasonal & individual variation:
Status, Habitat and Habits:

This species has wide range through out southeast Asia. In India, it can be seen in some states of NE Indian states such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur. It inhabits, tropical and subtropical coniferous forests and broadleaf forest. It is arboreal but may sometimes be found on ground. It is diurnal species, mostly found solitary. Its diet include fruits, leaves and branches. It makes nests (drey) high in the trees by collecting leaves and other plant material. 

Conservation Status:

This species is listed as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (

According to IUCN Red List assessment, population of this species is decreasing all over its range. There are no estimates of its population. Rate of decline is also not known. The threats to its survival mainly come from habitat loss and fragmentation owing to anthropogenic activities like logging, agriculture, residential and commercial activities. Hunting, trapping and poaching is another threat that has caused loss its population.

Mammalia > Rodentia > Sciuridae > Ratufa

Cite this page along with its URL as:
Bayani, A. 2023. Ratufa bicolor Sparrman, 1778 – Malayan Giant Squirrel. A. Bayani, R. Chakravarty, P. Roy, and K. Kunte (editors). Mammals of India, v. 1.13. editors.
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