Squirrels, especially those in temperate regions, hoard seeds in terrestrial scatterhoards or larders. Arboreal seed storage is rare. Here we show for the first time that the tropical Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica) larder hoards seeds in arboreal nests, a behaviour not previously described. Seeds of 6 tree and liana species in an Indian cloud forest were hoarded during the fruiting season. Seeds of 2 species were hoarded but never consumed when fresh probably because of secondary metabolites. Common species with hard seed coats were most frequently hoarded. Squirrels exhibited variation in hoarding behaviour in different areas of the study site. Squirrels that were at risk of nest robbing resulting from competition for nesting sites did not hoard seeds.
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Vol. 14 • No. 2