The long-nosed squirrel
The shrew-faced squirrel
Species: Rhinosciurus laticaudatus
The representative of this subfamily can be found in the south-east Asia. The long-nosed squirrel is endemic to the forests of Sumatra, Borneo and the south of Malacca.
The long-nosed squirrel is about the same size as the red squirrel (around 30-40 cm long, the tail measures only about 5 cm). The upper part of the body is red-brown, the sides are light brown, the belly is almost white. The tail is dark and bushy, with a white tip. It has an oblong snout and long lower teeth that act like tweezers when the squirrel catches insects.
The long-nosed squirrel spends a lot of time on the ground but it is an excellent climber too. Their nests are normally found on the ground, in the driftwood or among stones, or else in low tree hollows.
Your squirrel will need a spacious cage, about 60х50х50 cm for one animal. The frame should be made of metal because the squirrel will try to escape. Over the frame you can put a metal net with cells 10-15 sq.mm each. If the cage is outdoors or on the balcony, it is best to make iron duo-pitched roof over it. If the cage is indoors, the roof is not needed. You should have a wheel and a nest outside the cage. The cage must have branches, driftwood and shelves for the animal to move around. The squirrel’s claws row constantly, so if they don’t get milled, they will get too long for the squirrel to move on the floor. At daytime squirrels are always active, they are curious and alternate activities all the time. The shedding period can be difficult: some animals become lethargic and sluggish, others, on the contrary, become too active. Spring shedding in females normally occurs immediately after mating season; in males it starts earlier and lasts until the middle of the summer.
The long-nosed squirrel favorite food is insects and earthworms. But in general squirrels’ menu is quite varied, they are not too fussy and eat almost anything they see: nuts, seeds, mushrooms, acorns, berries, fruit, vegetables, young shoots, roots, lichen, herbs, insects’ larvae, birds’ eggs and nestlings. Very often in times of hunger squirrels eat flower buds of fir trees. In early spring the squirrel gnaws the bones of dead animals. The amount of daily food depends on the season: in spring the squirrel eats up to 80 g of food daily, in winter only about 35 g.
In captivity squirrels can be fed with vegetables: spinach, red-headed cabbage, lettuce, endive, turnips, broccoli, celery (leaves and ½ of stem); finely cut fruit: berries, strawberry, raspberry, water melon, raisin, plums, apples and pears. Cereals are only a small part of squirrels’ menu, so you shouldn’t give a lot of them to your pet. Don’t feed the squirrel with cereals bought in a pet store: they contain honey and supplements that are dangerous for squirrels.
Squirrels shed. They are apt escape artists and can run away from a window of any height. Sometimes they don’t get attached to their owner. They can scratch in a very painful way. Squirrels are wild animals, so in captivity they tend to create a lot of problems both for people and for themselves.
Squirrels very rarely get ill, but in captivity they can become very stressed.