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.

Taiwan Giant Flying Squirrel

Taiwan Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista lena
Petaurista lena

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: A large species with very distinctive uniformly rufous back, a dull brown tail and a uniformly white underparts.

Distribution: Confined to the island of Taiwan where it is restricted to elevations of 1200–3750 metres. It occurs in hardwood and coniferous forests, although prefers hardwood forests.

There appears to be a degree of spatial separation between this species and the Red Giant Flying Squirrel, which also occurs in Taiwan, as the latter species is more abundant at lower elevations in broad-leaved hardwood forests.

Reproduction: ing has been observed once in June.

Mating has been observed once in June.

Diet: Consists primarily of leaves, bark and fruit. It feeds also on the leaves and fruit of Stone Oak (Pasania kawakamii); leaves of Machilis japonica, Quandong (Elaeocarpus sylvestris), Wheel Tree (Trochodendron aralioides), Mucuna macrocarpa, Taiwan Turpinia (Turpinia formosana), Ring-cupped Oak (Quercus glauca), Nanoto Pasania (Pasania nantoensis) and Oak (Lithocarpus amygdalifolius); on the seeds of Cunninghamia (Cunninghamia konishii); and on the leaves and flowers of Fried Egg Plant (Gordonia axillaris).

The bark of Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), a plantation tree, is known to be consumed as the stomachs of collected animals were nearly full of bark.

Ecology: Limited observations have indicated population densities ranging from 0.15 animals per 10 hectares in coniferous plantations to 2.98 animals per 10 hectares in hardwood forests.

Status: Not Evaluated.

Note: This species has typically been included as a subspecies of the Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel, however it was suggested to be a distinct species in 2004.

Taiwan Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista lena
Taiwan Giant Flying Squirrel
Petaurista lena
Distribution: Taiwan Giant Flying Squirrel
HB349–510 mm
TL360–523 mm
HF68–84 mm
M885–1930 g

Other species:


Random species

Greater Glider / Petauroides volans

Greater Glider
Petauroides volans

Sipora Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes sipora

Sipora Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes sipora

Selangor Pygmy Flying Squirrel / Petaurillus kinlochii

Selangor Pygmy Flying Squirrel
Petaurillus kinlochii


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.