Several species of squirrel live in Australia, but not all are native. In the north, they are known as the northern palm squirrel, and they have been introduced to Sydney and Melbourne. Until 1976, they lived in zoos but have dispersed naturally to 30 square km in suburban and country areas.
In Australia, there are two native species, as well as introduced species. Listed below are a few common squirrels you may see in Australia.
Squirrels are native to the United States but are not native to Australia. The Western Australian population of the Northern palm squirrel has been confined to Kew Gardens in Melbourne. These exotic species were introduced to the country in the 1880s and are now extinct.
However, the grey and palm squirrels were introduced to Melbourne, Victoria, and Perth, Western Australia, and are thriving in these cities. The federal government considers these animals to be an “extreme threat” to Australia and is therefore prohibited from keeping them as pets.
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There are a few species of squirrels in Australia. The grey squirrel and palm acorn-shaped squirrel are native to the country, but they are extinct in Sydney. The only two species that live in Australia are the northern palm and the grey squirrel.
In Sydney, these mammals live only in zoos and are considered a threat to the country’s wildlife. These rodents can mate with chipmunks in the wild, but in the country, they are protected as a pet.
While the squirrel is a native species, there are also introduced species that have been introduced to the country. In Western Australia, the American grey squirrel and the Northern palm squirrel are both non-native.
The grey squirrel was eradicated in 1973. But the Northern Palm Squirrel is also a non-native species. Its invasive nature has made them an “invasive” threat in the country. The federal government has declared them invasive animals.
The Australian squirrel is a small, endemic species that is twice as long as its related relative, the palm squirrel. It weighs between 230 and 330 grams and is about twice as large as the sugar glider. The white belly is white and is covered with blue-grey or brown-grey fur.
The blacktail end is completely black, but the black part of its tail is also a color of the animal. The palm is the only native species of the Australian palm squirrel. The flying membrane runs from the fifth front toe to the back of the foot.
The grey and palm squirrels are extinct in Australia. The only remaining population is the palm squirrel, which thrives in Perth Zoo. Both species belong to the rodent category and are classified as rodents in Australia. Its natural habitats include forests and wetlands.
But despite their small size, the Australian grey and northern palm squirrel are widespread in the country. Its populations are not native to the continent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can squirrels be found in Australia?
Yes, they can be found and they are represented in Australia by two introduced species, the American Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) Gmelin 1788 and the Northern Palm Squirrel (Funambulus pennantii) Wroughton 1905
Are there squirrels in Australian zoos?
Grey Squirrels and Palm Squirrels were both introduced to Australia; the Grey Squirrels have died out, and there is one colony of Palm Squirrels left in the wild around Perth Zoo, with another in captivity at Melbourne Zoo
What looks like a squirrel in Australia?
Australia has a lot of small arboreal mammal species like possums, gliders and especially Brush-tailed Phascogales (Phascogale tapoatafa) that may superficially resemble exotic squirrel species and live in similar habitats
Where can you find squirrels in Australia?
The northern palm squirrel is introduced to Australia, and is established in Perth, Western Australia (WA). Until 1976 it was also established in Sydney, New South Wales in the locality of Taronga Zoo and a small population was established in Kew Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria.
What animals are only found in Australia?
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.