Lifescapes Gallery

15 / Dec / 2010
The Case of the Bashful Giant
Malabar Giant Squirrel, Coorg
Jayanth Sharma

The Case of the Bashful Giant

Amongst the largest of his species, this champion athlete of the treetops pulls off gravity-defying leaps of up to 6 meters that’d do a Bob Beamon proud. But you’ll never catch him advertising his prowess. Chances are that you’ll never ever see the Malabar Giant Squirrel, but will often hear him chattering away in the dense canopy above your head in Coorg. This arboreal nut-cracker is so bashful, he’ll rarely come down from his tree kingdom, and it’s quite a task getting an appointment with His Royal Shyness. While it’s already difficult to spot his furry two-toned body hurtling across the leafy roof of the forests, hunting and loss of habitat have conspired to put him on the ‘endangered’ list, and ensured that he’s not likely to become a gregarious party animal too soon. While a well developed sense of self preservation manifests itself as shyness at most times, at others, it peeks out as sheer ingenuity. Consider how he and his partner build several identical nests in a particular area when she’s about to give birth. Just like those Presidential cavalcades of identical limousines, the idea is to keep enough decoys to confuse potential enemies, in his case predatory hawks, eagles and civets. But when he does get spotted, he borrows from the techniques of the guards at Buckingham Palace and freezes into total immobility. You can try all the tricks of the trade, even crack asinine jokes, but he will not be distracted from his statuesque pose till he’s convinced the threat has passed. The best thing to do, however, would be to casually turn back, and allow him to scamper away. For the Malabar Giant Squirrel is an indicator of the health of the forest, and by respecting his right to privacy, we’re acknowledging the larger universe that thrives under the canopy.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 at 9:57 am and is filed under Mammals . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. nd janardhan says:

    hi mr jayant its a perfect shot to encourage young photographer like us(ur student)
    I have been viewing great pictures in Lifescapes. It would be grat if the picture contains info of shooting specs jayant@orange county.combination to encourage Thank you.

  2. VIJAY AYAR says:

    very good photography

  3. K N Mohankumar says:

    I have been viewing great pictures in Lifescapes. It would be nice if the picture contains info of shooting specs such as Focal, Shutter and ISO.

  4. Diwakaran Nair says:

    His Royal Shyness? What a wonderful description?Just like the rest of the commentary.
    As for the image, it’s out of the world. Congrats Mr. Jayanth Sharma….and Kudos Mr Rajesh Ramaswamy for keeping me and family rivetted all this while.

  5. Asha Francis says:

    Brilliant as always.. the words and the picture that goes along with them!

  6. Ram Mohan Tiwari says:

    I have had the singular pleasure of seeing this beautiful animal.Thank you.

  7. Jose Ramapuram, Director, Orange County Resorts says:

    Before Orange County, Coorg was built 15 years back, I had never seen Malabar Giant Squirrels, horn bills and many other animal / bird species that we see today, around the area where this resort stands.Today, they are seen very frequently. Can I hope that one reason behind this phenomenon is that Orange County’s Responsible Tourism Initiatives are working. :). Any views on this?

  8. Kannan .K.V. says:

    Excellent photography and writeup as always.Eventhough I have been visiting Orange County since 1997 I have not come across this lovely creature.His Royal Shyness indeed! Hope my luck changes for the better when I visit Orange County next.

  9. Dr. George Mathew says:

    Thanks. Excellent photograph.

  10. George Varghese says:

    Dear Orange County Lifescapes team,
    God bless you. Thank you for sending these fortnightly issues. They arre very educative, informative and amusing too.
    Hats off to you all for the exceptional style of the write up. The metaphors used are amazing.
    Surely God has blessed you with amazing photograph collections and very catchy presentations. His creation is very sharply and clearly displayed.
    With appreciation,
    Andrew George

  11. Vinod Kumar VK says:

    Nice writeup!! I regularly see this beauty in this season in my office campus!! but ofcourse at the top of the tree.. and as the leaves r getting down from the tree and only nuts remains.. we can easily watch him cracking nuts!!.. its nice to see its activities.. Thanks for sharing this nice write up!

  12. Archana says:

    We are happy to receive the pictures and information about animals and birds. Thanks Orange County.

  13. aditya says:

    Beautiful snap

  14. Suresh Menon says:

    Hi Jayanth,

    Excellent photography and the prose to go with it.

    • Jayanth Sharma says:

      Thanks Mr. Suresh.
      I must mention that apart from Kabini and its jungles, I spotted plenty of these giants in Coorg, while enjoying my breakfast at the “Plantain Leaf” in Orange County Coorg.

      Hope to go there again and though its tough, would like to go with out the camera đŸ˜‰ hopefully!

  15. Dr. R. Venkataraman says:

    Thanks for forwarding info on Malabar Giant Squirrel which sounds interesting. The photograph of the squirrel is nice.

  16. Ruchira Sonalkar says:

    Splendid! Splendid! Splendid! Just as always!

  17. Nita Fernandes says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  18. Nick Page, Managing Director - Oasis Travel says:

    Hi There
    May I just congratulate you on your UNIQUE fortnightly e-mails.
    I always read them with interest…..keep up the great work

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