The rain forest is home to many different animals and as you get closer to the you equator the more species there may be in an area. Apart from the charismatic and iconic species for which Dzanga Sangha is famous, the forest around Sangha Lodge has some of the best small mammal watching opportunities anywhere in the world. To feature some of these we will be posting some pictures of lesser known species we have captured over the years, boosted recently by our camera trap research into pangolins.
Here we feature the squirrels. Nine species have been recorded at the lodge, below are details of the eight we have photographed. The ninth,
African pygmy squirrel (Myosciurus pumilio),
we will add when we can.
While reviewing the pictures and video we have, we believe we have found a 10th species, not previously recorded in CAR . Scroll to the bottom of the page for this.
Little information can be found online about many of these species, so we will be happy to accept any corrections. If you have any comments, or have photos taken here you would like to add, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Descriptions are based on observation and checked agains the Handbook of Mammals of the World, and Squirrels of the World. Special thanks to Venkat Sankar for his help
All pictures Sangha Lodge, SPP, Tess Ullman or Ewan Davies except where otherwise noted.
Forest giant squirrel(Protoxerus stangeri)
Also known as the African giant squirrel. The largest squirrel in the area, very common in the forest around the lodge. Often seen on the trails to the west. The tail is held behind the body or dangling below. Sometimes mistaken for Red-legged sun squirrel due to reddish colouration on the hind limbs. The yellow bare area behind the eye and the distinctive shape of the head are easily identifiable characteristics.
Red-legged sun squirrel(Heliosciurus rufobrachium)
Surprisingly few photos of this relatively common species are captured. It rarely forages on the ground so avoids our camera traps. It is similar in colour to the giant squrrel and in size to the green bush squirrel.
Since writing this page, we've made a concerted effort to get some more footage of this squirrel, as there was surprisingly little in our archives. A camera trap in a tree swiftly rectified this.
Fire-footed rope squirrel(Funisciurus pyrropus)
This species is one of those sometimes encountered on the forest floor where it spends much of it's time. It is uncommon at the lodge and seen more frequently on a visit to Bai Hokou.
As per its name, its most distinctive feature is orange-red colour of its legs.
Red-cheeked rope squirrel(Funisciurus leucogenys)
Another squirrel often seen on the ground the Red-cheeked rope squirrel feeds on fruit and grains. The tail sometimes appears to have a red patch near the tip. This tail patch and the colur of the legs allow it to be distinguished from fire footed.
At the lodge, look for these along the Babongo trail to the north.
Thomas's rope squirrel(Funisciurus anerythrus)
Very common in the palms and other trees along the edge of the river at
the lodge and quite vocal. It has a single pale side strip and a
relatively short tail. The vocalisations of this rope squirrel are an
everyday sound here. Wait quitely on the decking at the bar, and you
should see one soon enough. Nearly always seen near water.
Lady Burton's rope squirrel(Funisciurus isabella)
More commonly heard than seen. This small rope squirrel has a distinctive call, but it can be difficult to obtain good views. It is one of two very similar rope squirrels that can be found here Both of which have four black stripes and a relatively short tail. Lady Burton's differs from Ribboned Rope Squirrel in that the coloration in between the black stripes is the same.
Ribboned rope squirrel(Funisciurus lemniscatus)
Similar to Lady Burton's, but as seen in the picture, the central stripe is usually a draker shade than those to either side.
Green bush squirrel(Paraxerus poensis)
Found on the forest edges at the back of the camp and around the more isolated cabins. The green bush squirrel has no stripes on it's body, distinguishing it from the rope squirrels. The green colouration is often quite clear.
African pygmy squirrel(Myosciurus pumilio)
This tiny squirrel is very occasionally seen round the lodge, and more often on the treks we organise to various landmarks on our land. We've never caught this on a camera trap, and the speed that these tiny creatures move make photographing them difficult. We'll add a photo to this page once we have one.
Ebian's palm squirrel
Last but not least, when we began reviewing data for this web page, we were confused by camera trap footage that was initially thought to be Red legged sun squirrel, but did not match any pictures of that species. Checking through the existing litrature suggested that it may might be Ebian's palm squirrel, a little known and rarely photograhed species found in Gabon and the Republic of Congo. So far our investigations support this view and we are attempting to have this verified. If so this is a new species for both Dzanga Sangha and Central African Republic.
This is a large, mostly ground dwelling squirrel. It is very shy and rarely seen but appears to be relatively common around the lodge. We have footage from multiple locations on our property and our concession. We hope that our continued exploration and reviews of the data we collect will lead to more discoveries and shows how there is still to learn about the environment that surrounds us.