The Squirrel is a small to medium sized member of the rodent family Sciuridae. They are commonly located in America, Eurasia and Africa. The Squirrel was introduced to Australia by humans. Interestingly, the tail of the Squirrel serves the purpose of keeping the rain, wind or cold off the body of the animal, to help it cool off in hot weather, to counterbalance when moving and can be utilized as a parachute when jumping from one location to the next. Squirrels consume foods that are rich in protein, carbohydrates and fats. They eat nuts, seeds. fruits and vegetation.
This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum and the National Museum of Victoria, as well as individuals such amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.
This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.
This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.
The Carolina Squirrel specimen has dark grey coloured fur. This specimen stands on a wooden platform and its arms are stylized in a raised position next to its face. A paper tag hangs from the right arm with a smaller tag attached to the left. The squirrel has dark black glass eyes and sharp claws on the hands and feet.
Inscriptions & markings
36. Carolina Squirrel / Catalogue, page, 49 /