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.

Sumatran Flying Squirrel

Sumatran Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes winstoni
Hylopetes winstoni

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: A small flying squirrel with a dark ring around each eye and a ‘cheek-beard’. It has tufts of thin (but rather stiff) hairs, up to 2 centimetres in length, on the sides of its head, behind its eyes. They arise from and near the foreedge of its ear and the part of the cheeks closely below it.

The hairs are directed partly straight upwards, partly more backwards. It also has long, but less stiff and more flat-lying hairs above the ear, and they can be found rather abundantly along the sides of its neck as far as about 2 centimetres up and behind its ears. The hairs on its underparts have long, white or slightly ochre-coloured tips, the ochre colour becoming clearer on the underside of its gliding membrane (though there are dark patches on the membrane near the armpit).

There is a light, pure ochrecoloured band underneath the outer margin of its membrane runs. Its tail is dark brown, its base lighter, and its upper side darker than its underside, with the tips of hairs darkest.

Distribution: Known only from the type locality in Aceh, northern Sumatra at 1200 metres.

Reproduction: Nothing is known.

Diet: Nothing is known.

Ecology: Nothing is known.

Status: Data Deficient.

Note: The species was originally described as Iomys winstoni after Winston Churchill ‘in honour of one of the greatest protectors of mankind and free science of our days’. It was subsequently placed in the genus Hylopetes.

Sumatran Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes winstoni
Sumatran Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes winstoni
Distribution: Sumatran Flying Squirrel
HBc. 142 mm
TLc. 143 mm
HFc. 30 mm
MNot known

Other species:


Sipora Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes sipora
Sipora Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes sipora

Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes spadiceus
Red-cheeked Flying Squirrel

Hylopetes spadiceus

Javanese Flying Squirrel / Iomys horsfieldi
Javanese Flying Squirrel

Iomys horsfieldi

Flying Squirrel / Iomys sipora Mentawai
Flying Squirrel

Iomys sipora Mentawai

Random species

Biak Glider / Petaurus biacensis

Biak Glider
Petaurus biacensis

Sumatran Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes winstoni

Sumatran Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes winstoni

Complex-toothed Flying Squirrel / Trogopterus xanthipes

Complex-toothed Flying Squirrel
Trogopterus xanthipes


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.