The Houston Zoo’s new breeding pair of Prevost squirrels, Walnut and Mali, hit the ground running and produced its first litter on June 25th, fifty-one days after being introduced. The two male pups, Ranger and Danger, are thriving under the excellent care of their first-time mother.
Native to the forests of Southeast Asia, the colorful Prevost’s squirrel has a gestation period of forty days. Mali choose to give birth in an off-exhibit area in a wooden nest box. Prevost’s squirrel mothers will carefully guard the nestbox, but due to Mali’s excellent training and her relationship with the keepers, staff had no trouble getting her to go into a travel crate for a few minutes, allowing for the pups to be checked. Keepers were able to obtain the weights of the pups and note milestones. The pups started to open their eyes at 16 days and began venturing out of the nestbox at about one month of age.
Ranger and Danger are not on exhibit yet, but may be exploring the habitat soon. As the youngsters grow up, zoo keepers hope that Walnut and Mali will continue to contribute to the zoo population of this beautiful, lively species.