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.

Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel

Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista yunanensis
Petaurista yunanensis

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: A large flying squirrel with a big head and a long tail. The upper parts of its body are a rich, dark glossy maroon-chestnut, with the head and back in some individuals finely speckled with white, which is most marked in the young. In the adult, the upper surface of the gliding membrane is the same colour as the back, and the hairs are uniformly coloured.

The paws and the margins of the limbs are rich black in colour. The under parts of the animal are yellowish-white, tending in some to a chestnut line along the middle of the chest and belly, and to a darker tint of the same colour on the margin of the gliding membrane. The fur of the upper parts of the body and the tail is long, soft and silky, while that of the under surface is more woolly in texture. The ears are large and rounded, and clad with very short hairs. Cheek-bristles are present.

Distribution: Mainly in China, it occurs in Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces and in Tibet (= Xizang). The distribution also extends into northern Laos, northern Vietnam and northern Burma. The species is found in mixed forest dominated by oaks between 1800–4270 metres.

Reproduction: Nothing is known.

Diet: Nothing is known.

Ecology: Little is known except that it is nocturnal and occurs in hillside forests. In the Adung Valley in northern Burma, a specimen was collected at 2580 metres.

Status: Not Evaluated.

Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista yunanensis
Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel
Petaurista yunanensis
Distribution: Yunnan Giant Flying Squirrel
HB415–610 mm
TL490–605 mm
HF51–93 mm
M730–1200 g

Other species:


Indian Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista philippensis
Indian Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista philippensis

Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel / Petaurista xanthotis
Chinese Giant Flying Squirrel

Petaurista xanthotis

Basilan Flying Squirrel / Petinomys crinitus
Basilan Flying Squirrel

Petinomys crinitus

Travancore Flying Squirrel / Petinomys fuscocapillus
Travancore Flying Squirrel

Petinomys fuscocapillus

Random species

Sugar Glider / Petaurus breviceps

Sugar Glider
Petaurus breviceps

Particolored Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes alboniger

Particolored Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes alboniger

Travancore Flying Squirrel / Petinomys fuscocapillus

Travancore Flying Squirrel
Petinomys fuscocapillus

Mindanao Flying Squirrel / Petinomys mindanensis

Mindanao Flying Squirrel
Petinomys mindanensis


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.