Researchers recently determined that tufted ground squirrel, Rheithrosciurus macrotis, a rarely seen inhabitant of the forests of Borneo, has the bushiest tail, relative to its body, of any mammal on Earth. It is also, according to Bornean lore, a bloodthirsty killer.
Above, from left to right: Camera trap photos of Rheithrosciurus macrotis in Sarawak, Malaysia (Photo: J. Brodie) and lowland Dipterocarp forest in East Kalimantan, Indonesia (Photo: D. Augeri), via "Tall Tales of a Tropical Squirrel."
Local legends suggest that Rheithrosciurus, which is thought to mostly eat giant acorns, can be savage. Hunters say that the squirrels will perch on low branches, jump onto a deer, gash its jugular vein, and disembowel the carcass.
"It sounds pretty fantastical," says Roland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. "Even more than its fluffy tail."
I don't know. That tail is pretty fantastic. Of course, R. macrotis has got nothing on the overall fluff of this angora rabbit.