Animals / Rodents

The Smith's Bush Squirrel

Синонимы и названия на других языках

The yellow-footed squirrel, the tree squirrel


Order: rodentia

Family: sciuridae

Genus: paraxerus

Species: paraxerus cepapi


It is an African tree squirrel that is native to the southern part of the continent (Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe etc.). It is a common rodent that lives on the trees and in scrubs on rocks. 

Внешний вид

The Smith’s bush squirrel is about 350 cm long half of which is tail. It has yellowish-gray fur that makes a great disguise for the rodent among the tree branches and on the rocks covered with moss. The belly is white. It has no tufts on the ears. 


This is a diurnal species. The Smith’s bush squirrel is mostly active in the morning and in the evening; during the hottest time of the day it rests in its nest in a tree hollow or in crevices. The squirrel covers the bottom of the nest with dry grass and leaves. It is commonly found in the outskirts of towns and villages under the roofs of buildings; it doesn’t get disturbed by the vicinity of people. When disturbed, this squirrel makes piercing squeaks and tuts, and at the same time it jerks its tail from one side to another. Before the winter season the squirrels stock seeds and roots. It builds a round-shaped nest of plant fiber among lianas.

Содержание и уход

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 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.  


In the wild the Smith’s bush squirrel eats fruit, seeds and insects. During the winter droughts this species spends a lot of time on the ground where it can find insects among the fallen leaves. It can also drink honey dew.

In captivity squirrels can be fed with nuts, 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.


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