Tamaulipas, Mexico through most of the Yucatan Peninsula and to northwest Costa Rica. It is usually found at elevations between 300 and 3000 meters.
Reid (1997), Leopold (1959), Best (1995)
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Head and body length: 181-225 mm
Tail length: 155-197 mm
Hind footh length: 46-55 mm
Ear length: 21-30 mm
Sciurus deppei (Deppe's squirrel) is a small squirrel. Its upperparts are brown, ranging from dark olive brown to reddish brown. Its underparts are paler, usually white or a pale shade of grey. The ears are medium-sized and without long tufts. The tail is short, narrow, and usually dark brown with a border of pale-tipped hairs. According to some reports, the forelegs and feet can be a shade of dark grey rather than brown.
Deppe's squirrel can be told from most other squirrels of this region by its small size, short tail, and medium-sized ears. It can be told apart from Sciurus richmondi and Sciurus granatensis by its pale, not orange, underparts.
Best (1995), Reid (1997)
Range mass: 191 to 219 g.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Deppe's squirrel is locally common in areas of dense forest vegetation and high humidity. It is found in all kinds of tropical forest, including oak forest, pine-oak forest, cloud forest, ebony forest, and lowland forest. It disappears from areas that are highly disturbed by agriculture.
Reid (1997), Best (1995), Leopold (1959)
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
Habitat and Ecology
This squirrel is diurnal. It may be seen resting quietly on a low branch with its tail over its back or moving with great speed and agility through epiphyte-laden tress or vines in middle and upper canopy levels. It sometimes descends to the ground to feed or to cross clearings but is mainly arboreal. This species dens in tree cavities or makes leaf nests on branches 6 to 20 m above ground (Coates-Estrata and Estrada 1986; Leopold 1959). Its diet includes seeds and fruit, including figs, Manilkara zapora, Brosimum alicastrum, and Poulsenia armata. Fungi, shoots, and leaves are also eaten. It is usually solitary, silent, and inconspicuous, but sometimes calls with high-pitched trills and twitters. Groups are occasionally seen feeding together. Young are born near the end of the dry season (Reid 1997).
Deppe's squirrel feeds on seeds, fruit, and foliage. Analysis of Deppe's squirrel diets have shown it eats figs, fungi, acorns, berries, and the fruits of trees such as Brosimum alicastrum, Cymbopetalum baillonii, Pinus caribea, Poulsenia armata, and Manilkara zapota. Most of the time it is an arboreal feeder, but it has been seen on the forest floor eating fungi, berries, and acorns.
Deppe's squirrel can do great damage to corn crops, especially when corn crops are situated in clearings of dense tropical forest. Deppe's squirrel eats the corn in a characteristic way, by cutting away a portion of the husk and eating only part of the corn ear beneath. Since Deppe's squirrels are too small to be a good food source, they are mainly killed to prevent crop damage.
Best (1995), Leopold (1950), Reid (1997), Estrada and Coates-Estrada (1985)
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Deppe's squirrel can breed year-round, but the average number of litters born each year is not known. Typically young are born at the end of the dry season, and the litter size varies between two and eight but is usually four. Males show enlarged testes when they are sexually active.
There is one report that Deppe's squirrel is able to breed with Sciurus yucatanensis, but it is not known whether or not the offspring were fertile.
Best (1995), Reid (1997), Leopold (1959), Gaumer (1917) in Leopold (1959)
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sciurus deppei
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
CITES Appendix III (Costa Rica). This species is only locally common to areas of undisturbed forest. Conservation of Deppe's squirrel will depend on conservation of its habitat.
CITES: appendix iii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Deppe's squirrel is known for the damage it can do to corn crops, but the squirrel is rarely found in highly agricultural areas. The damage it does to corn crops is usually confined to farms or milpas surrounded by undisturbed forest.
Leopold (1959), Best (1995)
There are no specific account of positive benefits for humans, but Deppe's squirrel may assist in the dispersal of tropical plant seeds and spores.
- Koprowski, J., Roth, L., Woodman, N., Matson, J., Emmons, L. & Reid, F. (2008). Sciurus deppei. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
- Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffmann, R.S. (2005). "Sciurus (Sciurus) deppei". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference (3rd ed.). The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 754–818. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4. OCLC 26158608.
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