'Vampire' Squirrel Has World's Poofiest Tail, Reputed Taste For Blood

Illustration for article titled Vampire Squirrel Has Worlds Poofiest Tail, Reputed Taste For Blood

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.

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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."

Via Science:

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.

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"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.

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DISCUSSION

It feels like something the DM uses to kill your character if he hates you.