Japanese Squirrel: Sciurus lis

by M. Fujimoto


The number of Sciurus lis is becoming fewer every year. As a kind with fear of extinction, it is indicated to the Red Date Book. And this is fundamentally called the Sciurus lis. But it is also called “Kinezumi” and “Hondolis” in Honshu.

Description & Taxonomy

Sciurus lis of length from head to trunk is about 18-22cm. And the length of tail is about 15-17cm. A tail is the length of the same about as the body. It is very long. Sciurus lis resembles “Sciurus vulgaris orientis” in appearance but not in hair. The hair of Sciurus lis changes with seasons as follows.
The hair of hand and foot is reddisbrown in summer. And ear’s soft hair is lost in winter.
Sciurus lis belongs Rodentia, Sciuridae, Sciurinae and Sciurus.

Range & Ecology

Sciurus lis inhabits Honshu except Setouchi and San-in, Shikoku and Awaji-shima. It is said that Sciurus lis was exterminated in Kyushu and Chugoku district.

Since a Sciurus lis lives on trees, it can live only the place that trees stands in a row. In other words, it can’t live in the place that trees have grown independently like the park.

Sciurus lis hasn’t make a group and activity time is only several hours from early morning. So,it is difficult for us to look at it. Sciurus lis makes a nest on Pinus densiflora or Larix kaempfen and it doesn’t make on broadleaf trees. It uses the bark of Japanese cedar when it makes a nest. But these are wonderful phenomena , we can’t be solving the detailed reason yet.

Use & Conservation

We are apprehensive that Sciurus vulgania which imported as a pet escaped, it hybridizes with Sciurus lis and will be born the cross lately. And it is also poached in the national park and the number is decreasing. Sciurus lis eats the seed of trees, fruits and mushrooms. Since it is visible like a fried shrimp after Sciurus lis gnaws a cone and eats an inner fruit, it is called the “fried shrimp”. Then eaten nuts are buried at many places by them. So it is said that they contribute to expansion of a forest.


If you want to see Sciurus lis in Kochi, what is necessary is just to walk along the forest of the Shimanto River origin region. However, if you would like to see them certainly, going to Noichi Doubutsukouen in Kochi will be the best method.


  1. I did not know that a squirrel was endangered.
    Because I did not watch a wild squirrel, I want to look


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