Plantain Squirrel feeding on palm shoot

on 9th October 2018

The different foods the Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus singapurensis) takes include fruits, flower nectar, and birdlings.

A new food is the shoot of young MacArthur Palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii) (above, below).

The video below shows a Plantain Squirrel gnawing on the shoot of a second young plant. The earlier plant destroyed is on the right on this palm. The adult palm is on the left with a bunch of orchids tied to the stem.

The squirrel meticulously peeled off the hard, outer layer of the stem to get at the tender inner tissues. It is interesting to note that the squirrel worked downwards for a short portion of the stem (below)…

…then turned around and worked upwards (below). In all, it took about half an hour before rain forced it to leave.

All along it had its pair of limbs firmly gripped around the stem and used its sharp teeth to peel the hard outer layer.

YC Wee
9th September 2018

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

3 responses

  1. Dear Webmaster,
    At the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where they have dedicated the Medicinal Garden to you, the landscaping contractor warned me that Plaintain Squirrels would consume the growing tips of plants, and had done considerable damage at his off-site nursery.
    I later learned that his accusations were true. When my pots of orchids are not in bloom, they are placed at the back of my house. There is also where I have pots where young plants are grown to maturity.
    The resident Plaintain Squirrel here has found himself a wife, and produced a family. They are displaying quite an appetite for the growing tips of Dendrobium and Arachnis orchids, and love the flavour of both the stems and the flowers of Alpinia and Etlingeria gingers.
    However, they are so cute that I do not have the heart to evict them.

  2. Talking about the food that animals eat. You may all know this, but I was a bit taken aback when I first saw it. I pictured Gozilla having a meal. A house gecko likes to eat pieces of cooked chicken I leave for it. It would come out of hiding and “attack” the chicken – just like a wild animal. I hope it will not grow bigger than a normal gecko, because of the chicken it has been eating. Suddenly, I don’t feel safe.

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