Logo: Gliding mammals of the world

The world’s gliding mammals are an extraordinary group of animals that have the ability to glide from tree to tree with seemingly effortless grace. There are more than 60 species of gliding mammals including the flying squirrels from Europe and North America, the scaly-tailed flying squirrels from central Africa and the gliding possums of Australia and New Guinea.

Families: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Sciuridae, Pteromyini
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Rodentia
Family:Sciuridae
Subfamily:Sciurinae
Tribe:Pteromyini

Flying squirrels (scientifically known as Pteromyini or Petauristini) are a tribe of 50 species of squirrels in the family Sciuridae. They are not capable of flight in the same way as birds or bats but are able to glide from one tree to another with the aid of a patagium, a furry, parachute-like membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle.

Their long tail provides stability in flight. Anatomically they are very similar to other squirrels but have a number of adaptations to suit their life style; their limb bones are longer and their hand, foot bones and distal vertebrae are shorter. Flying squirrels are able to steer and exert control over their glide path with their limbs and tail.

Molecular studies have shown that flying squirrels are monophyletic and originated some 18–20 million years ago. Most are nocturnal and omnivorous, eating fruit, seeds, buds, flowers, insects, gastropods, spiders, fungi, bird’s eggs and tree sap. The young are born in a nest and are at first naked and helpless. They are cared for by their mother and by five weeks are able to practice gliding skills so that by ten weeks they are ready to leave the nest.

Species:


North Chinese Flying Squirrel / Aeretes melanopterus
North Chinese Flying Squirrel

Aeretes melanopterus

Black Flying Squirrel / Aeromys tephromelas
Black Flying Squirrel

Aeromys tephromelas

Namdapha Flying Squirrel / Biswamoyopterus biswasi
Namdapha Flying Squirrel

Biswamoyopterus biswasi

Kashmir Flying Squirrel / Eoglaucomys fimbriatus
Kashmir Flying Squirrel

Eoglaucomys fimbriatus

Northern Flying Squirrel / Glaucomys sabrinus
Northern Flying Squirrel

Glaucomys sabrinus

Southern Flying Squirrel / Glaucomys volans
Southern Flying Squirrel

Glaucomys volans

Particolored Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes alboniger
Particolored Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes alboniger

Bartel’s Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes bartelsi
Bartel’s Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes bartelsi

Palawan Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes nigripes
Palawan Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes nigripes

Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes platyurus
Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes platyurus

Sipora Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes sipora
Sipora Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes sipora

Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes spadiceus
Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes spadiceus

Sumatran Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes winstoni
Sumatran Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes winstoni

Javanese Flying Squirrel / Iomys horsfieldi
Javanese Flying Squirrel

Iomys horsfieldi

Flying Squirrel / Iomys sipora Mentawai
Flying Squirrel

Iomys sipora Mentawai

Lesser Pygmy Flying Squirrel / Petaurillus emiliae
Lesser Pygmy Flying Squirrel

Petaurillus emiliae

Selangor Pygmy Flying Squirrel / Petaurillus kinlochii
Selangor Pygmy Flying Squirrel

Petaurillus kinlochii

Japanese Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista leucogenys
Japanese Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista leucogenys

Red Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista petaurista
Red Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista petaurista

Indian Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista philippensis
Indian Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista philippensis

Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista xanthotis
Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista xanthotis

Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista yunanensis
Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista yunanensis

Basilan Flying Squirrel / Petinomys crinitus
Basilan Flying Squirrel

Petinomys crinitus

Travancore Flying Squirrel / Petinomys fuscocapillus
Travancore Flying Squirrel

Petinomys fuscocapillus

Whiskered Flying Squirrel / Petinomys genibarbis
Whiskered Flying Squirrel

Petinomys genibarbis

Siberut Flying Squirrel / Petinomys lugens
Siberut Flying Squirrel

Petinomys lugens

Mindanao Flying Squirrel / Petinomys mindanensis
Mindanao Flying Squirrel

Petinomys mindanensis

Vordermann’s Flying Squirrel / Petinomys vordermanni
Vordermann’s Flying Squirrel

Petinomys vordermanni

Japanese Flying Squirrel / Pteromys momonga
Japanese Flying Squirrel

Pteromys momonga

Smoky Flying Squirrel / Pteromyscus pulverulentus
Smoky Flying Squirrel

Pteromyscus pulverulentus

Complex-toothed Flying Squirrel / Trogopterus xanthipes
Complex-toothed Flying Squirrel

Trogopterus xanthipes


Random species

Black Flying Squirrel / Aeromys tephromelas

Black Flying Squirrel
Aeromys tephromelas

Lesser Pygmy Flying Squirrel / Petaurillus emiliae

Lesser Pygmy Flying Squirrel
Petaurillus emiliae


Gliding Mammals of the World provides, for the first time, a synthesis of all that is known about the biology of these intriguing mammals. It includes a brief description of each species, together with a distribution map and a beautiful full-color painting.

An introduction outlines the origins and biogeography of each group of gliding mammals and examines the incredible adaptations that allow them to launch themselves and glide from tree to tree.