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.

Northern Glider

Northern Glider / Petaurus abidi
Petaurus abidi

Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Petauridae

Description: Its upper parts are grey, the fur being tipped with light grey and washed with yellowish-brown, especially toward the mid-line of the back and on the rump. It has a black stripe of irregular width down its back extending from between its eyes to the base of its tail.

Its ears are not greatly elongated (about 34–35 mm in length) and are naked on the entire inner surface and also on the distal 15 mm of their outer surface. This species is significantly larger than the Sugar Glider, which occurs in the same area.

Distribution: Found throughout the New Guinea North Coast Ranges, comprising a section of mountain range approximately 100 kilometres in length and a few tens of kilometres wide, from at least Fas Number 2 village near Mount Menawa in the west, to Mount Sapau in the east.

The species is known at elevations above 300 metres, though it is thought to be rare below 800 metres; most animals occur at an elevation of 800–1200 metres. Within this distribution it is patchily distributed and appears to occur within rainforest.

Reproduction: Little is known except that a lactating female has been collected in March; another female was carrying a young in her pouch, which was just getting fur on the head and weighed 6.5 grams.

Diet: Specimens have been collected while they were feeding upon figs (Ficus sp.). Captive animals have thrived on guavas, bananas and the fruit of lilly pilly (Syzygium sp.).

Ecology: The Northern Glider has not been studied in any detail to date. The only anecdotal observations include three adult males and two adult females that were found within a tree hollow, which had been enlarged by chewing, in an isolated, senescent tree (locally known as ‘diri’). Captive animals have been heard to make a series of loud growls and shrieks.

Status: Critically Endangered.

Northern Glider / Petaurus abidi
Northern Glider
Petaurus abidi
Distribution: Northern Glider
HB245–276 mm
TL345–385 mm
HF39–42 mm
M228–332 g

Other species:


Feathertail Glider / Acrobates pygmaeus
Feathertail Glider

Acrobates pygmaeus

Yellow-bellied Glider / Petaurus australis
Yellow-bellied Glider

Petaurus australis

Biak Glider / Petaurus biacensis
Biak Glider

Petaurus biacensis

Random species

Flying Squirrel / Iomys sipora Mentawai

Flying Squirrel
Iomys sipora Mentawai

Whiskered Flying Squirrel / Petinomys genibarbis

Whiskered Flying Squirrel
Petinomys genibarbis

Smoky Flying Squirrel / Pteromyscus pulverulentus

Smoky Flying Squirrel
Pteromyscus pulverulentus


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.