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 and White Giant Flying Squirrel

Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista alborufus
Petaurista alborufus

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: A large species with upper parts red, grizzled with white. Its tail is reddish-buff with a black tip. Its underparts are pale buffish, becoming white on the throat. Its ears are covered in short white hairs with black or dark maroon tufts at their bases. It has a well-defined black eye-ring and its feet are black.

On the mainland, the front half of its back is rufous, while the rear half is a pale straw-colour. The mainland animals have a dark rufous tail, paler at the base, orange-brown or white underparts, with their throat and neck usually white, and feet and legs rufous or black.

Distribution: Occurs throughout Tibet, southern and central China, extending into Burma and Thailand. Within this region it is found within dense hillside forests in mountainous terrain.

In China it lives in deep valleys of rainforest and tropical mixed forests or deciduous broad-leaved forest at 800–3500 metres. It is most commonly found at an elevation of 2000–3000 metres.

Reproduction: The rate of reproduction appears to be low. One or two young are born at a time. They are reared in a nest high up in a hollow tree in mature forest. Some animals may also nest in limestone caves.

Diet: Nothing is known.

Ecology: Nests are normally located in tree hollows, although they may also occur in both hardwood and coniferous forests.

Status: Least Concern.

Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista alborufus
Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel
Petaurista alborufus
Distribution: Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel
HB350–580 mm
TL400–615 mm
HF68–90 mm
M1231–1930 g

Petaurista alborufus alborufus — Western Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu provinces, China.

Petaurista alborufus candidula — Burma and northern Thailand.

Petaurista alborufus castaneus — Eastern Sichuan, Shaanxi, Chongqing, Hubei, Guizhou, Hunan and Yunnan Provinces, China.

Petaurista alborufus leucocephalus — Tibet (= Xizang, China), Bhutan, south into Assam (India) and east to northern Burma.

Petaurista alborufus ochraspis — Likiang Range in Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces, China.

Other species:

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.