The African Pygmy Squirrel
The smallest squirrel found on earth is the African Pygmy
Squirrel. From its head to the base of its tail is only two
and one half inches (fourteen centimeters) long. Its tail is
about the same length as its body. African Pygmy Squirrel
are native to Western Africa from Equatorial Guinea to
Northwestern Gabon, including the island Bioko. They live in
holes in tree trunks, with no nests, and can be seen at any
height but prefer to be at lower levels and have been found
in all types of forests.
Its fur ranges in shades from buff on top to white on its
stomach, and the edges around the ears and eyes are very
striking white. Probably the most distinctive characteristic
of the African Pygmy Squirrel is that it looks like a tiny
mouse no bigger than a man's thumb.
These squirrels, unlike the species we know best, are not
social animals and are usually found alone, although they do
tolerate others of their species in their general vicinity.
They are diurnal meaning they are active during the day and
forage during this time. When they become alarmed they have
a very distinctive low intensity call to warn that danger is
in the area.
Their diet has not been observed, but African Pygmy
Squirrels that have been captured and dissected by
scientists have had in their stomachs ants, termites, fungi,
bark, and oils, suggesting that they might be omnivores.
African Pygmy Squirrels breed early in the year but that is
all that can be determined about them since so few female
squirrels have been captured.
Although these squirrels are rare in captivity, some have
been kept as pets, but this should only be done by those
very experienced and knowledgeable about squirrels and for
the purpose of studying this very interesting little