Rheithrosciurus macrotis has multiple names. One name is the tufted ground squirrel and the other is the “vampire squirrel.” You can’t really blame people for liking the second name better. Take a look at the first video ever to capture the squirrel in the wild.
This cute little guy roams the forests of Indonesia. Its primary occupation, according to local legend, is biting deer and drinking their blood. Its primary occupation, according to biologists, is not being seen by biologists. To rectify this, an international group of researchers set up 35 video cameras in Gunung Palung National Park.
Disappointingly, this video footage shows the squirrel rooting through leaves instead of chasing down a deer. That’s probably because, whether the squirrel bites deer or not, its major food source is exceptionally tough-shelled nuts. This might be where the rumors of vampirism originated. If a squirrel has the teeth to get through a nut, it shouldn’t have a problem with deer.
[Source: Science AAAS]
Video: University of Michigan/Victoria University/Gunung Palung National Park Bureau