Latin name: Cyrogrillus
Other names: Chirogrillus, Chyrogrillus, Cirogrillus, Pirolus, Pitorius, Pyrolus, Sciuri, Sciurus, Scurulo, Scurulus, Spariolus, Vair, Vario, Varius
Category: Beast

An animal that climbs trees

General Attributes

The squirrel appears in in some medieval encyclopedias. It is said to be a petty animal that climbs high in trees. When it wants to cross water, it stands on a small piece of wood and raises its tail to use as a sail.

A type Eurasian red squirrel is called varius in encyclopedias. In northern Europe its winter coat is blue-grey on the back and white on the belly. Pieces of fur from the back were sewn in an alternating pattern with fur from the front; the resulting fur (vair) was often used to line the mantles (cloaks) of judges and other officials. A pattern of blue-grey and white based on this fur was used in heraldry. The fur was also called miniver from the French menuvair (menu = small, vair = fur).