|Common Nicknames||Red Rat, Nut Nibbler|
|Habitat||Temperate forests of Aloria|
|Domesticated||Yes depending on subspecies|
The Squirrel, along with the Rat and the Mouse, is one of the most populous mammals in Aloria. The Squirrel is common in the pine forests of The North Belt, the boreal forests of the Regalian Archipelago, and some have even made their way to the jungles of Daen. Easy to domesticate but also easily returned to the wild, the animal is most often a children’s pet or a trick animal of traveling entertainers when they are domesticated, or living wild in nearby parks. Their numbers took a hit recently due to the Bone Horror Crisis but they are expected to bounce back quickly.
The Squirrel has an ancient - if not mysterious - history. Some theorize they are one of the most common animals to exist since the time of the Seraph, but what is certain is the creature has been widespread for centuries of history. The animal is thought, by mainstream scholars, to have originated on Oldt Era and spread with Ailor in their travels across the world. The spread of the animal suggests as much, as it exists primarily throughout regions settled by the Ailor. The animal has never been notable in history, only useful to many for its meat or when hunting for its small pelt. With the rise of the Regalian Empire, the animal’s ties to the Ailor have grown more prominent, and some popular traveling entertainment acts now feature trained squirrels in some capacity. Much more recently, however, the Bone Horror Crisis has damaged this common animal’s numbers in areas such as The North Belt and Ithania as, despite its small size, many still fell to the undead scourge. But just like the Ailor Race which spread them across the world, the squirrel is expected to bounce back more numerous than ever.
The Squirrel is a diminutive mammal, barely a foot and a half long with a third of this body taken up by its tail, and weighing no more than a pound. Their heads are small with a smooth, rounded muzzle, an active nose, small white whiskers, large black eyes, and small ears poking up from their head. It runs on four, small-pawed and short-limbed feet with their entire body covered in a variously colored coat of fur while their underbellies are an off-white tone. The fur especially tufts on the animal’s large bushy tail.
The Squirrel has greatly diversified over the centuries, though all share the same general traits. While their subspecies are diverse, they lack sexual dimorphism and have equal gender numbers in each subspecies. Below can be found a listing of the various subspecies of the squirrel in Aloria.
- Red Squirrel: The Red Squirrel is a small subspecies of the animal native to the forests of the Regalian Archipelago. It is known for its red and red-brown fur colorations along with the small tufts of fur along its ears that give it the appearance of greater size. They are most often associated with fall and harvest time due to their coloration.
- Common Squirrel: The Common Squirrel is the most common subspecies of squirrel, existing across Oldt Era, the Regalian Archipelago, and parts of Daen. Its fur is commonly a shade of brown or black, and it is also the easiest to train as they commonly exist near civilization.
- Soaring Squirrel: This subspecies is unique in Aloria for possessing the lightest body of any squirrel, which helps it perform its trademark action: gliding. Using a thin membrane which stretches from their front to rear paws on both sides, the animal can move between Essalonia’s forest trees where it makes its home. They have gray colorations to their fur pelt.
- Northern Squirrel: The Northern Squirrel is the largest subspecies and exists across northern regions of Aloria, from the forests of the northern regions of the Regalian Archipelago to The North Belt. They are commonly colored light grey and black with a dirty-gray underbelly. An added aspect of their diversity is the presence of albinism as a recorded phenomenon which turns their fur white and their eyes a dark pink. Such members of the subspecies are rare and sought after by hunters.
Life Span and Development
Squirrels are liveborn in small litters of two to five. Small and pink, they mature quickly, as by their second week they already possess a thin coat of fur. After a total of two months, they have matured physically but stay with their parents for another month, continuing to learn essential survival skills from them. After these three months, the squirrel leaves to find its own home. They can live for up to seven years, though a large number die within their first few years due to predation. If they are domesticated, they can live up to ten years.
Squirrels are flighty creatures, with a keen sense of smell and sight to help them. However, their level of intelligence is rather low and they are unable to handle complex tasks. If they are captured young or as babies, they can be easily trained to respond to simple commands and directions. These actions they can take, however, are often simple acrobatic movements and tricks involving their keen sense of smell. Squirrels are noted for their nose as they can sniff out nuts and seeds, the main part of their diet.
Territory and Groupings
Squirrels can live a variety of lifestyles over their lifetimes. When young or as parents, they live as a unit inside their tree-nest homes, but when they are grown up they often live alone. These tree-nests can exist in all sorts of trees across several different climates but Royal Oaks and deciduous forests are their favorites. Additionally, once two squirrels have met, they remain together for life and rarely ever mate with other squirrels.
- A woman was once found guilty of aiding bandits because of squirrels. She was a squirrel tamer and lived at a fork in the road. Were travelers to ask her for directions, she send them down the right path only if they bought a squirrel from her. If not, she'd tell them to go down the other path which led to a den of bandits.
- Squirrels are thought to have been from the time of the Seraph due to several carvings which feature similar looking creatures in what are, most likely, scenes of nature. However, these images are so small that most scholars assume them to be decorative swirls or some other animal.
- The most intricate squirrel show to date was “Davinski’s Stupendous Squirrel Circus” which featured a team of around twenty such creatures performing a wide variety of tricks for the audience. When Davinski retired, he gave away his squirrels to other trainers.