After an hour or so sitting on the same branch, the Asian Koel from last week’s photos flew off, leaving all the food for the palm squirrel.
For a few days the squirrel re-appeared in the same tree every morning. Then one day I looked out of my kitchen window and realised that all the yellow nuts were gone. Between them, the Asian Koel and the Indian Palm Squirrel, with his long red tongue, had eaten the lot.
The palm squirrel has three stripes on its back (as you can see in the next photo) and there is an Indian legend about the origin of the stripes. The version that I have heard is that Lord Rama was building a bridge between India and Sri Lanka in order to rescue his wife Sita, and the squirrel helped by adding some twigs and sand (shaken from his fur) to the bridge-building materials. Lord Rama thanked the squirrel, leaving three stripes where his fingers stroked the squirrel’s back.
So I will admit that the squirrel is cute – but don’t forget my first comment on Indian palm squirrels – complete with “Wanted” poster: 2 May 2013.