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The Japanese Squirrel

This video, titled "A Baby Squirrel in the Forest, Early in the Morning" (子リスの活動、早朝の森の中で), was created by "squirrelstail1."
It contains footage of a baby Japanese squirrel in the wild.
Squirrels at zoos are especially popular among children.

Throughout this video you can see footage of the wild Japanese squirrel. You won't be able to take your eyes off of this adorable critter!
Watching the quick and nimble movements of the Japanese squirrel is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
In this article, we'll introduce the Japanese squirrel, a squirrel native to Japan.

Japanese Squirrel Facts

Image of a squirrel

The Japanese squirrel is a member of the order Rodentia, family Sciuridae and genus Sciurus (齧歯目リス科リス属, gesshimokurisukarisuzoku), and is more commonly referred to as a rodent (齧歯類, gesshirui).
It is called both Nihonrisu (ニホンリス) and Hondorisu (ホンドリス) in Japanese.
An adult Japanese squirrel can grow to a height of 16-22 cm with a tail length of 13-17 cm and weight as much as 300g.
The underbelly and tip of their tail is white in color and the fur on their body is known to change color depending on the season.
Their summer coat is a reddish-brown color whereas their winter coat is more of a grayish-brown color.

The Japanese squirrel's call sounds like "kyuukyuu" (キューキュー) in Japanese.
You can buy squirrels at pet shops, and other pets, such as chipmunks, can be purchased for around 10,000 yen.
They're relatively easy to care for making them a popular small pet.
You can buy pellets or seeds to feed your pet squirrel at either a pet shop or home center.

Image of Manchurian walnuts
Photo:Manchurian walnuts

The Japanese squirrel is mostly herbivorous.
They like to feed on Manchurian walnuts (オニグルミ, onigurumi) and the seeds and fruits of Japanese larch (カラマツ, karamatsu), Japanese red pine (アカマツ, akamatsu) and Japanese white pine (ゴヨウマツ, goyoumatsu) trees.
They are also known to occasionally eat insects and other small animals.
They store food in pouches in their cheeks and take it back to their nest where they will then bury and store it underground.
From 1:09 and 2:34 in the video, you can see adorable footage of a Japanese squirrel eating food it has found, using both of its tiny hands.

Distribution and Habitat of the Japanese Squirrel

The Japanese squirrel lives in subalpine zones and woodland areas.
They are diurnal animals who tend to be very active during the day and rest in the evening.
They usually spend most of their time in a set area but may occasionally venture outside of that area to look for food.

Japanese squirrels spend most of their time up in the tree tops where they build round nests.
From 2:54 in the video, you can see a Japanese squirrel easily climb a tree.
Wild Japanese squirrels do not hibernate in winter and have an average life span of 3 to 5 years.
Japanese squirrels kept in captivity tend to have a slightly longer life span of around 5 to 7 years.

How to Distinguish the Japanese Squirrel From Other Squirrels

Image of a Japanese squirrel
Photo:Japanese squirrel

There are many species of squirrels, such as the Japanese squirrel, Hokkaido squirrel (エゾリス, ezorisu), Taiwanese squirrel (タイワンリス, taiwanrisu), Tamians, and chipmunks (シマリス, shimarisu) and red squirrels (キタリス, kitarisu).
They all have their own unique characteristics, but the Japanese squirrel and Taiwanese squirrel are fairly hard to distinguish so we'll describe the differences between the two.

The Japanese squirrel has a white border around its eyes which the Taiwanese squirrel doesn't have.
In winter, the Japanese squirrel has a tuft of hair at the tip of its ears and a white underbelly; however, the Taiwanese squirrel's underbelly remains the same color as the rest of its body.
The Taiwanese squirrel is a non-native species introduced to Japan and are known to be very aggressive in nature.
Their increasing numbers, particularly in areas such as Kamakura (鎌倉), are becoming a problem.

Summary of the Japanese Squirrel

This video shown in this article contains footage of the Japanese squirrel.

You won't be able to take your eyes off the cute Japanese squirrel as it plays in the forest early in the morning.
If you love animals, be sure to check out the video!

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 15, 2020
鈴木 正孝(Masataka Suzuki)
A writer born and raised in Asakusa, Tokyo who loves traveling and novels

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A Cute Baby Squirrel Running Around in the Woods in the Early Morning. The Way It Holds Its Food With Both Hands as It Eats Is Simply Adorable!
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