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.

Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel

Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel / Belomys pearsonii
Belomys pearsonii

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: A medium-sized glider which has rufous-brown fur with black flecking on its upper surface. The back and the top of its head range in colour from speckled grey to speckled red-brown. The hairs are blackish with light or red-brown tips.

The fur of its gliding membrane is similar, but the black shows through much more. Its fur is somewhat flattened below and fairly bushy on top, and is light reddish-brown with a grey base. Its throat, breast and belly are creamy white, sometimes with a slight reddish tinge. The underside of its gliding membrane is sparsely covered with red-brown hairs, and the membrane has a white fringe. Tufts of long fur arise from the ear, and there is usually a light area behind the ear. The feet have long tactile hairs.

Distribution: Occurs in the higher elevations of the Himalayas from eastern Nepal, Sikkim to western Bhutan, upper Assam (India). Also found in northern Laos to northern Burma and central Thailand. Further populations occur in south-east and central China and Vietnam.

In Nepal it occurs in forests from 1500–2400 metres down to 900 metres. In China it occurs in dense subtropical and mixed forests at altitudes of 500–2400 metres in the southern part of the range, while to the north it occurs in mixed broad-leaved forest.

Reproduction: Nothing is known.

Diet: Feeds upon leaves and fruits, and in the north and higher latitudes on oak leaves and needles of cedar and pine.

Ecology: Little is known.

Status: Data Deficient.

Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel / Belomys pearsonii
Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel
Belomys pearsonii
Distribution: Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel
HB130–260 mm
TL102–160 mm
HF31–47 mm
Mc. 217 g
Subspecies:

Belomys pearsonii pearsonii — Himalayas from eastern Nepal, Sikkim (Darjeeling = Darjilling), to Bhutan and upper Assam (India).

Belomys pearsonii blandus — South-east and central China including the provinces of Henan, Guizou, Guangxi and Guangdong and Hainan Island. The distribution extends southwards into northern Burma, northern and central Thailand, and central Laos with isolated populations throughout Vietnam.

Belomys pearsonii kaleensis — Taiwan, China.

Belomys pearsonii trichotis — Manipur, India and Yunnan, China.

Other species:


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

Random species

Mahogany Glider / Petaurus gracilis

Mahogany Glider
Petaurus gracilis

Northern Flying Squirrel / Glaucomys sabrinus

Northern Flying Squirrel
Glaucomys sabrinus

Vordermann’s Flying Squirrel / Petinomys vordermanni

Vordermann’s Flying Squirrel
Petinomys vordermanni


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.