The total length is 350 mm, half of which is tail. This species only weighs 200 gram. The coat colour varies throughout the region. In the western and arid parts of its range it is pale grey, and in the eastern localities more brown. Head and legs are a rusty colour.
Colouration on the chest varies from yellowish to buffy in the east, to white in the west. The Tree Squirrels' bellies are white. These alert and ever busy creatures carry their long tails extended backwards.
Essentially arboreal animals, but spend a great deal of time on the ground, foraging for food. When disturbed, Tree Squirrels will always seek the refuge of trees. During the night, territorial family groups nest together in holes in trees. Offspring become sexually mature between six to nine months, at which stage they are forcibly evicted by the breeding pair.
The males are mainly responsible for territorial defense, although females will also chase intruders when she cares for dependent pups. To promote group cohesion, a common scent is shared by mutual grooming, which is an important facet of the social fibre of this species.
The southern limit of the Tree Squirrel's distribution in South Africa, extends into the woodland savanna regions of North Western, Northern and Mpumalanga Provinces, and from here eastwards to Swaziland and Mozambique.