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.

Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel

Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes spadiceus
Hylopetes spadiceus

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: A medium-sized squirrel with blackish or dark grey-brown upper parts, with rust-coloured, buff or yellow tips, especially in the midline. The underparts of its body are white on grey under-fur, with a faint orange tinge. Its gliding membrane has a thin white margin.

Its tail is dark, slightly orange-brown with buff under-fur, with a distinctly orange or chestnut colouring at the base. Its cheeks are orange-brown or grey. The Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel is somewhat smaller and has only traces of a yellowish tinge on the cheeks and base of tail. Vordermann’s Flying Squirrel has a buff margin to the gliding membrane.

Distribution: Occurs from south-eastern Burma, western and southern Thailand to southern-most Malay Peninsula and Singapore; south-eastern Vietnam and small islands including Con Son Island (Vietnam), Terutau Island (Straits of Malacca, Thailand), and Kundur Island (Riau Islands), Bangka Island and Bunguran Island in Indonesia.

A subspecies in northern Borneo occurs in tall and secondary forests. On the Malay Peninsula it is one of the more common small squirrels in the forested regions of the lowlands and foothills of Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

Reproduction: Nothing is known.

Diet: Nothing is known.

Ecology: Little is known about this species. It nests in tree holes, about 32 millimetres wide and 0.3–3.3 metres above the ground, have been observed on the Malay Peninsula.

Status: Least Concern.

Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes spadiceus
Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes spadiceus
Distribution: Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel
HB135–184 mm
TL102–166 mm
HF27–35 mm
M80–157 g
Subspecies:

Hylopetes spadiceus spadiceus — South-eastern Burma, western and southern Thailand, western Cambodia to southern-most Malay Peninsula and Singapore; south-eastern Vietnam and small islands including Con Son Island (Vietnam), Terutau Island (Straits of Malacca, Thailand), and Kundur Island (Riau Islands), Bangka Island and Bunguran Island in Indonesia.

Hylopetes spadiceus everetti — Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak in northern Borneo. Also occurs on Bunguran Island, Natuna Islands.

Hylopetes spadiceus sumatrae — Sumatra.

Other species:


Sipora Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes sipora
Sipora Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes sipora

Sumatran Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes winstoni
Sumatran Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes winstoni

Javanese Flying Squirrel / Iomys horsfieldi
Javanese Flying Squirrel

Iomys horsfieldi

Random species

Sugar Glider / Petaurus breviceps

Sugar Glider
Petaurus breviceps


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.