A lively trio of Prevost’s squirrels have emerged from their nest at Chester Zoo.
It is the first time the colourful climbers, which are native to the forests of South East Asia, have been born at the zoo.
The three youngsters arrived to mum André and dad Pierre following a 48-day pregnancy.
Team manager Dave White said: “The new triplets are 11 weeks old but have only recently started to leave their nest. Prevost’s squirrel parents are very protective of their new kittens and will carefully guard them for the first month of their lives before encouraging them to start venturing out.
“The youngsters have already developed striking, colourful coats and are gaining more and more confidence by the day. They’re the first Prevost’s squirrels to ever be born here and it’s great to see them doing well, climbing and leaping between branches under the watchful eyes of mum and dad.”
Prevost’s squirrels, which are also known as the tri-coloured squirrel, have thick fur which is black from the nose to tail and red on the belly and legs, separated by a white stripe.
They occur across the mainland and islands of South East Asia, with the squirrels from each area having subtly different markings.
More research may even show that these represent many different isolated species.
The squirrels are vital to the survival of the forests in which they live, redistributing seeds from the fruit that they eat, giving rise to new generations of plants.