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.

Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel

Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes platyurus
Hylopetes platyurus

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: Similar in appearance to the Arrow-tailed Flying Squirrel, but with greyish cheeks and a pale base to its tail. The hairs of its back and upper parts of the gliding membrane are very short, black, and tipped with chestnut.

The hairs on its chin, chest and the underside of its forelegs are pure white while those on the belly and the undersides of its hind legs are black with white tips. This species is also similar to the Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel but is smaller.

Distribution: Occurs on the southern-most provinces of Thailand (including Terutau Island), Malay Peninsula, Borneo (within Sabah and Sarawak) and in Indonesia including Bunguran Island (Natuna Islands) and Sumatra.

Its habitat appears to be partially cut primary forest and secondary forest. It is sometimes found near fruit and rubber plantations.

Reproduction: Somewhat variable. It has been suggested that its reproduction is linked to fruiting of various rainforest trees. Females have been found pregnant or with young in nests between February and July/August. Pregnancy rates average only 13 per cent with one to three young being produced. In some years it appears that no or few females may breed.

Diet: Includes seeds, fruit, leaves and insects.

Ecology: Observations in the wild suggest this species uses its incisors to excavate a hollow in a tree, beginning where a dead branch has fallen from the tree stem. It then lines the hollow with fibre from the bark of a dying or dead meranti tree (Shorea sp.).

It does not appear to make its home in a fissure or a hole in a tree which it has not made itself. However, it may make a nest in a live tree or in a coconut in which it or another squirrel has gnawed a hole. The nest may be as low as 1 metre above the ground.

Status: Data Deficient.

Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes platyurus
Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes platyurus
Distribution: Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel
HB110–153 mm
TL122–136 mm
HF22–25 mm
M67–99 g

Other species:

Palawan Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes nigripes
Palawan Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes nigripes

Sipora Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes sipora
Sipora Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes sipora

Random species

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.