Isn’t this a cute little tassel dwarf squirrel? This full-color book plate is from the Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London for the year 1889.
Like the wonderful Borneo monkey drawing from this same work, this little fellow lives in Borneo. Both of these lovely drawings were done by Joseph Smit (1836-1929), a Dutch-English animal illustrator.
The tassel dwarf squirrel is one of the smallest species of squirrels in the world. They have a head-torso length of only 8.4 to 8.8 cm – that’s about the width of a standard business card. It primarily eats lichens and mosses which cover the trees they inhabit.
Like so many of these vintage zoological illustrations, the name it bears is not generally used anymore. Making it even more confusing, I found this same plate being identified as a tassel dwarf squirrel (Exilisciurus whiteheadi ) and as a tufted pygmy squirrel with the same scientific name. No matter what we call this sweet little fellow, he is distinctive due to his diminutive size and the lovely tufted white ears.
When researching this squirrel drawing, I found a version of this print that someone had generously cleaned up for us. So, I’m sharing that version as well as the original scan. Each is shown here in a smaller size and you can simply click on them to access a larger version.
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.