Paraxerus luciferblack and red bush squirrel

Geographic Range

Paraxerus lucifer is native to the Ethiopian Region. It has been found in the Misuku Hills and Nyika Plateau of Northern Malawi, as well as the Poroto Mountains and Nkoko Forest of Southwestern Tanzania. It is suspected to also be found in the Mafinga and Makutu Mountains of Northeastern Zambia. (Kingdon, et al., 2013; Thorington, et al., 2012; Wilson, et al., 2005)


  • Range elevation
    2000 (low) m
    6561.68 (low) ft

Physical Description

Paraxerus lucifer is the largest of the three species of Tanganyika mountain squirrel. Most easily distinguishable by its distinctly red-orange to rufous coat with a single, fairly large black spot on the center of its back. Face and forelimbs are a bright orange. The tail is composed of guard hairs with a black base and rufous tip, undercoat mostly rufous, forming a subtle black barring pattern. The fur on its underside is a silver-tipped dove-grey.

This coloration lends the species its common name; the Black-and-Red Bush Squirrel. (Kingdon, et al., 2013; Kingdon, 1997; Thorington, et al., 2012)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    680.2 to 685.0 g
    23.97 to 24.14 oz
  • Average mass
    681.5 g
    24.02 oz
  • Range length
    HB: 201 + T: 186 to HB: 241 + T: 218 mm
    to in
  • Average length
    HB: 222, T: 202 mm


  • Breeding interval
    Breeding interval unknown.
  • Breeding season
    P. lucifer breeds in the summer and/or fall.



Communication and Perception

Food Habits

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • seeds, grains, and nuts
  • fruit
  • nectar
  • flowers


Ecosystem Roles

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • disperses seeds
Commensal/Parasitic Species

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Conservation Status

Most of the populations live in or around protected areas naturally, and it is suspected that the species currently exists at healthy population levels. This natural population is rather small, however, and as such vulnerable to rapid collapse should conditions change. (Kingdon, et al., 2013; Thorington, et al., 2012)


David Hazlett (author), Miami University, Joseph Baumgartner (editor), Miami University, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


an animal that mainly eats leaves.


an animal that mainly eats fruit


an animal that mainly eats seeds


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

stores or caches food

places a food item in a special place to be eaten later. Also called "hoarding"


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Accessed March 15, 2015 at

Kingdon, J., D. Happold, T. Butynski, M. Hoffmann, M. Happold, J. Kalina. 2013. Mammals of Africa, Volumes 1-6. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Accessed March 15, 2015 at

Thorington, R., J. Koprowski, M. Steele, J. Whatton. 2012. Squirrels of the World. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press. Accessed March 15, 2015 at

Wilson, D., D. Reeder, R. Thorington, R. Hoffman. 2005. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press. Accessed March 15, 2015 at