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.

Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel

Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista xanthotis
Petaurista xanthotis

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: Small in size compared to others of the genus Petaurista, its body and gliding membranes are greyish-yellow brown or blackish-brown.

Its ears are blackish-brown with yellow spots on the back, and its tail is long and bushy. Externally it is similar to Gray-headed Giant Flying Squirrel but has black feet and an orange-brown patch behind the ears.

Distribution: Endemic to central China, it occurs in Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces and Tibet (=Xizang). Within its known distribution the Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel inhabits subalpine spruce forests at elevations of 2000–3400 metres. It is typically a high mountain flying squirrel.

Reproduction: Very little is known. Pregnant females have been caught in April.

Diet: Includes tender leaves of plant material as well as bark, nuts of pine and fir trees, and insects.

Ecology: Very little is known. It makes its nest inside tree hollows.

Status: Least Concern.

Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista xanthotis
Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel
Petaurista xanthotis
Distribution: Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel
HB325–430 mm
TL294–360 mm
HF65–80 mm
M730–1200 g

Other species:


Red Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista petaurista
Red Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista petaurista

Indian Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista philippensis
Indian Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista philippensis

Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista yunanensis
Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista yunanensis

Basilan Flying Squirrel / Petinomys crinitus
Basilan Flying Squirrel

Petinomys crinitus

Random species

Malayan Colugo / Galeopterus variegatus

Malayan Colugo
Galeopterus variegatus

Particolored Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes alboniger

Particolored Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes alboniger

Smoky Flying Squirrel / Pteromyscus pulverulentus

Smoky Flying Squirrel
Pteromyscus pulverulentus


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.