|Common Nicknames||Red Rat, Nut Nibbler|
|Habitat||Temperate forests of Aloria|
The Squirrel is unique in Aloria as it is perhaps the most widely spread animal aside from birds to exist in the world. 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. Their numbers took a hit recently due to the Bone Horror Crisis but are expected to bounce quickly.
The Squirrel has an ancient if not mysterious history. Some theorize that they are one of the most common animals to exist since the time of the Seraph, but what is certain is that 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 throughout regions settled by the Ailor in forests of all sorts. The animal has never been notable in history, only useful to many for it’s meat when hunting or for it’s 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. But just like the Ailor race who is thought to have spread them across the world, the Squirrel is expected to bounce back most 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 their tail. 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-pawed feet with their entire body covered in a red-brown coat of fur while their underbellies are an off-white. The fur especially tufts on the tail and exists in two pointed tuffs just behind each ear of the animal.
Squirrels possess very little diversity in size and coloration region to region as well as species to species. However, the northern variations of the squirrel are noted for their thicker coats of fur.
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 skills from them. After these three months, the Squirrel leaves to find its own home. They can live for up to seven years and if domesticated, can live up to ten.
Squirrels are flighty creatures, with a keen sense of smell and sight to help them in their actions. However, their level of intelligence is rather low and 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 snuffle 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, can live alone in single smaller homes. Once two Squirrels have met, they rarely ever mate with other Squirrels and remain together. These tree-nests can exist in all sorts of trees across several different climates but Royal Oaks and deciduous forests are their favorites.
- A woman was once found guilty of aiding bandits because of squirrels. A squirrel tamer, her home existed at a fork in the road and should travel ask her for directions; she would only lead them down the good path 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 carving that features similar looking creatures in what is most like scenes of nature. However, these images are so small that most scholars simply 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.