The Indian Palm Squirrel (Funambulus palmarum) also known as Three-Striped Palm Squirrel, is a species of rodent in the Sciuridae family. It is found abundantly in Indian subcontinent. More recently, the it was accidentally introduced into Western Australia where it has become a minor pest that is actively eradicated due to its lack of natural predators.
Palm squirrels are about the size of rats with a bushy tail which is slightly shorter than their body. Their back is a grizzled grey-brown colour with five conspicuous white stripes, three of which run from head to tail. The two outer stripes run from the forelegs to the hind legs only. They have a creamy white belly and a tail covered with interspersed long black and white hairs. Their ears are small and triangular.
Gestation period is 34 days. Litter size averages 2.75 (viviparous). Breeding takes place in grass nests during autumn. Litters of two or three are common. The young are weaned after about ten weeks and are sexually mature at nine months.
These squirrels eat mainly nuts and fruits. They are fairly vocal, with a cry that sounds like “chip chip chip” when danger is present. They are opportunists in urban areas, and can be easily domesticated and trained to accept food from humans. Naturally active, their activity reaches levels of frenzy during the mating season.