Grizzled Squirrel Sanctuary
The Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at Srivilliputhur, this sanctuary shares its border with three main sanctuaries. Periyar Tiger reserve on the South West, Megamalai Reserve in the North West and Sivagiri reserve to the south. This lovely sanctuary nestles in the ranges of Western Ghats at an altitude of 100 MSL to 2010 MSL and gives the visitors spectacular sight. This is the eastern watershed boundary of River Periyar and is one of the neatly preserved forests. The different climates and topography of this sanctuary results in diversity of flora and fauna.
This sanctuary serves as the origin of many rivulets. The climate is dry in foothills, but as we climb up the mountains we can feel the chill breeze.
This sanctuary is blessed with diverse habitats, there are grass lands, wet evergreen forests, semi evergreen, moist deciduous, open deciduous and closed deciduous. Lots of trees adore this sanctuary, which are the abode to millions of squirrels living here.
There are a wide range of fauna in this sanctuary. Elephant herds are quite common, other animals include tiger, Leopard, Gaur, Nilgiri tahr, Spotted deer, Barking deer, Sambar, Wild-boar, Porcupine, Nilgiri langur, Lion-tailed macaque, Common langur, Slender lorris, Bonnet macaque, Sloth bear, Indian Giant Squirrel and Flying Squirrel. The sanctuary is inhabited by extremely rich and diverse fauna. Over 200 species of avifauna have been reported from this sanctuary that includes some rare birds such as the Red faced Malkoha, Nilgiri Flycatcher and Malayan Night Heron. The Great Pied Hornbill is well and widely distributed in the Sanctuary.
The Grizzled Squirrel can be found only in South India and Srilanka. They are very distinctive in the way they look and breeds once in a year, that too giving birth to single offspring. This sanctuary take immense care in protecting these creatures.
In the early morning (6 am to 11 am) all the squirrels come out of their hiding place and feed their offspring and themselves, the same pattern is repeated in the evening from 3 to 4 pm. From 11am to 3 pm they take rest. Squirrels mostly feed on fruits, during lack of fruits they feed on tender fruits.
This sanctuary is near Madurai (100 km) district. There are buses from both Madurai and Tirunelveli. Nearest railway station and Airport is at Madurai.
The sanctuary can be visited throughout the year. The Pilavakkal and Koilar dams situated along the foothills of the sanctuary are the best place to see water birds and other wildlife.