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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Sciuridae (squirrels)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Synapsida (mammal-like reptiles) > Therapsida > Theriodontia >  Cynodontia > Mammalia (mammals) > Placentalia (placental mammals) > Euarchontaglires > Glires > Rodentia (rodents) > Sciurognathi

Species indigenous to southern Africa

Xerus inauris (South African ground squirrel)

Xerus princeps (Damara gound squirrel)

Heliosciurus mutabilis  (Mutable sun squirrel)


Funisciurus congicus  (Striped tree squirrel)

Paraxerus palliatus (Red bush squirrel)

Paraxerus cepapi (Tree squirrel)

Species naturalised in southern Africa

Sciurus carolinensis (Grey squirrel)

Indigenous to North America and introduced by Cecil John Rhodes to Cape Town around the turn of the 19th-20th Century. Grey squirrels are common in the Western Cape wherever there are pines and oaks and has not spread significantly into natural vegetation. Hence, while alien to South Africa, it is not considered a serious threat to local biodiversity although it does supplement its vegetarian diet by predation of eggs and chicks in bird's nests.