Plantain Squirrel – calling and tail flicking

on 28th October 2019

Plantain Squirrels (Callosciurus notatus) are common in Singapore’s urban gardens, feeding on flower nectar, fruits, figs, palm shoots and even birdlings.

When danger lurks, as when a Reticulated Python is nearby, it gives out its characteristic call LINK.

This squirrel, resting on a trunk of a wayside tree, was heard making the same call. However, no predator was seen nearby (see video below).

As it calls, it flicks its tail up and down. This flicking may carry a message as from where the predator is coming from. Vocalisation may be used to warn off the predator or to alert the predator’s presence. Tail flicking and vocalisation can also be an alarm signal.

An earlier post shows the squirrel being mobbed by a bird.

YC Wee
10th October 2019

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

2 Responses

  1. The tail flicking behaviour along with characteristic shreiks is also seen when predators are sighted by the Indian palm squirrel (Funambulus palmarum) in South India and also in many members in the family Sciuridae.

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