[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
ELEGANCE of shape, spiritedness, and agility to leap from bough to bough in the forest, are the principal features of this pretty animal, whose spreading tail helps the creature as the wings support a bird in the air, and seems to unite the quadrupeds to the feathered tribe. The Squirrel is of a deep reddish brown colour; his breast and belly white. He is lively, sagacious, docile, and nimble: he lives upon nuts, and has been seen so tame as to dive and search into the pocket of his mistress, after an almond or a lump of sugar. His tail is to him as a parasol to defend him from the rays of the sun, as a parachute to secure him from dangerous falls when leaping from tree to tree, and as a sail in crossing the water, a voyage they sometimes perform in Lapland on a bit of ice or a piece of bark inverted in the manner of a boat.
The Palatouche, or Flying Squirrel, is a species of the same genus; his tail is much smaller, but in compensation he has a large membrane proceeding from the fore-feet to the hind legs, which answers the same purpose as the squirrel’s tail.