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.

Particolored Flying Squirrel

Particolored Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes alboniger
Hylopetes alboniger

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: A medium-sized squirrel with a white throat that extends to grey forward of the cheek below the eye and behind the ears to form a ‘half-collar’. Its ears are covered with minute black hairs on both sides.

Its upper parts are rufousbrown darkening toward blackish on its limbs, on the upper surface of its gliding membranes, and on the underside of its tail. Its underparts are white to creamy in colour, except the tail.

Distribution: Occurs in the eastern Himalayas from Nepal through Sikkim (India), southern Tibet (Bomi), Bhutan, southern Assam (India), north-western and north-eastern Burma, northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Other populations are found on Hainan Island (China) and southern China. A typically mountainous species, it is found in oak (Quercus sp.) and rhododendron (Rhododendron sp.) forests in China as high as 3400 metres.

In Sichuan province, China it is found in evergreen broad-leaved forest at 1000–2800 metres. In Nepal it occurs in oak—rhododendron forest of midlands at elevations of 1500–2800 metres.

Reproduction: Breeding occurs from April to mid-June, at which time two or three young are born.

Diet: Fruits, nuts, leaves and buds.

Ecology: The species is poorly studied. Nests, lined with fine grasses, have been found in tree hollows and within balls of oak leaves and ferns. It has been seen gliding from limestone caves.

Status: Least Concern.

Particolored Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes alboniger
Particolored Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes alboniger
Distribution: Particolored Flying Squirrel
HB175–247 mm
TL180–230 mm
HF33–45 mm
Mc. 236–244 g
Subspecies:

Hylopetes alboniger alboniger — Eastern Himalayas from Nepal (at altitudes of 1500–2800 metres), through to Sikkim (India), south-eastern Tibet, Bhutan, southern Assam (India), northern Burma, northern Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and much of Vietnam.

Hylopetes alboniger chianfengensis — Chianfeng Mountain, Hainan Island, China.

Hylopetes alboniger orinus — Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Guangxi and Zhejiang Provinces in China.

Other species:


Northern Flying Squirrel / Glaucomys sabrinus
Northern Flying Squirrel

Glaucomys sabrinus

Southern Flying Squirrel / Glaucomys volans
Southern Flying Squirrel

Glaucomys volans

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

Hylopetes bartelsi

Palawan Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes nigripes
Palawan Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes nigripes

Random species

Biak Glider / Petaurus biacensis

Biak Glider
Petaurus biacensis

Bartel’s Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes bartelsi

Bartel’s Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes bartelsi


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.