Northern palm squirrel

The northern palm squirrel (Funambulus pennantii) also called the five-striped palm squirrel is a species of rodent in the family Sciuridae.[5] Some authorities recognize two subspecies, F. p. pennantii and F. p. argentescens. It is a semi-arboreal species found in tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forests and many other rural and urban habitats. It is a common species with a wide range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Northern palm squirrel
Five-striped palm squirrel (Funambulus pennantii).jpg
At Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Funambulus
Subgenus: Prasadsciurus
Moore & Tate, 1965[3]
F. pennantii
Binomial name
Funambulus pennantii
  • F. p. pennantii
  • F. p. argentescens
A five-striped palm squirrel refuses to leave her dead baby. She carried it in her mouth near Deva village in Anand, Gujarat.


It is found in the Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands (where it was introduced), India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran. In India, it is fairly common in urban areas, even in large cities such as Delhi and Kolkata. Two subspecies, Funambulus pennantii argentescens and Funambulus pennantii lutescens, were suggested by Wroughton in addition to the nominate race; however, more recent workers do not make this distinction.

Thorington and Hoffman in Wilson and Reeder (2005) listed only two subspecies: F. p. pennantii and F. p. argentescens.[4] However, Ghose, et al. (2004), described two additional subspecies: F. p. chhattisgarhi (distribution: eastern part of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, and Bihar) and F. p. gangutrianus (distribution: West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Nepal),[6] but Talmale (2007) treated the Maharashtra populations as F. p. pennantii only due to the overlapping in measurements and color variations observed in the specimens.[7][8][9]

It has also been introduced to Australia where it is found in Perth, Western Australia, established from zoo escapees,[10] and a population recorded around Mosman, New South Wales and near Taronga Zoo that may have become extinct. The feral populace, known locally as the five-lined palm squirrel, ranges out to the suburbs surrounding the Perth Zoo and also inhabits the grounds. They give birth over a period from August to May and most intensively around the austral spring and autumn.[11]

In India, the southern boundary of the species' range is not clearly identified, and recent records suggest it may extend as far as Madanapalli. The southern boundary on the Western Ghats side clearly extends to localities including Dharwar and Mysore, in Karnataka.[12][13]


The northern palm squirrel is a very adaptable species. It occurs in tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forest, montane forests to altitudes of 4,000 m (13,123 ft), scrublands, plantations, grasslands, arable land, rural gardens and urban areas.[1]


The northern palm squirrel is a common species throughout most of its wide range. It is an adaptable species and no particular threats have been identified, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".[1]


  1. ^ a b c Nameer, P.O.; Molur, S. (2017) [errata version of 2016 assessment]. "Funambulus pennantii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T8702A115088099. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T8702A22259750.en. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  2. ^ Wroughton, R.C. (1905). "The common striped palm squirrel". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 16: 406–413.
  3. ^ Moore, J.C.; Tate, G.H.H. (1965). "A study of the diurnal squirrels, Sciurinae, of the Indian and Indo-Chinese subregions". Fieldiana Zoology. 48: 1–351. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.2919.
  4. ^ a b Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffmann, R.S. (2005). "Family Sciuridae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference (3rd ed.). The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 754–818. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4. OCLC 26158608.
  5. ^ Thorington, R. W. Jr; R. S. Hoffman (2005). "Family Sciuridae". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. pp. 754–818.
  6. ^ Ghose, R. K.; Mandal, Ajoy Kumar; Ghose, Partha Sarathi (2004). "A contribution to the taxonomy of Indian fivestriped squirrel (Funambulus pennantii, Wroughton), with description of two new subspecies" (PDF). Records of the Zoological Survey of India. 102 (3–4): 89–103.
  7. ^ Talmale, S.S. (2007). Studies on Small Mammal Diversity in Maharashtra State. Ph. D. Thesis submitted to University of Pune, Maharashtra State, India.
  8. ^ Ellerman, J.R. (1961). The fauna of India including Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon: Mammalia, Rodentia. Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta.
  9. ^ Srinivasulu C.; S. Chakraborty; M.S. Pradhan (2004). "Checklist of the Sciurids (Mammalia: Rodentia: Sciuridae)". Zoos' Print Journal. 19 (2): 1351–1360. doi:10.11609/jott.zpj.19.2.1351-60.
  10. ^ Long, J. L. (2003). Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution, and Influence. Csiro Publishing, Collingwood, Australia. ISBN 9780643099166
  11. ^ Menkhorst, P.W.; Knight, F. (2011). A field guide to the mammals of Australia (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 210. ISBN 9780195573954.
  12. ^ Pradhan, M.S. and Kurup, G.U. (2001). Mammalia IN Fauna of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Fauna of conservation Area Series 11. Publ: Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata: 311–330.
  13. ^ Santharam, V. (2007). "Five-striped Palm Squirrel (Funambulus pennantii) in Rishi Valley, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 104 (2): 202–203.