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.

Japanese Flying Squirrel

Japanese Flying Squirrel / Pteromys momonga
Pteromys momonga

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini

Description: The fur of the upper parts of this smaller glider is blackish-slate with lighter tips, tending sometimes towards buff. Its cheeks and underparts are white with the hairs slate-coloured at the base. The hairs of its eye-ring and the bases of its ears are blackish and distinct.

The underside of its gliding membrane is irregularly washed with pale fawn. The upper surface of its hands and feet are grizzled black and fawn. It has a prominent tuft of longer hairs at the end of each hind toe. Its tail is washed above and below with black.

Distribution: Restricted to Japan on the islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu Islands, Japan.

Reproduction: Appears to breed twice per year. In Shizuoka two young have been observed in late March, in Aomoro Prefecture two young were observed in a nest in June, and in Fukui Prefecture a litter of three young were observed in November.

For a period of several days after its eyes opened, a young Japanese Flying Squirrel, on being removed from a nest, emitted low-frequency calls.

Diet: Consists mainly of leaves, buds, bark, nuts, seeds, fruits and mushrooms.

Ecology: Predators include snakes and owls.

Status: Least Concern.

Japanese Flying Squirrel / Pteromys momonga
Japanese Flying Squirrel
Pteromys momonga
Distribution: Japanese Flying Squirrel
HB140–200 mm
TL95–140 mm
HF32–39 mm
M150–220 g

Other species:


Vordermann’s Flying Squirrel / Petinomys vordermanni
Vordermann’s Flying Squirrel

Petinomys vordermanni

Smoky Flying Squirrel / Pteromyscus pulverulentus
Smoky Flying Squirrel

Pteromyscus pulverulentus

Random species

Feathertail Glider / Acrobates pygmaeus

Feathertail Glider
Acrobates pygmaeus

Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel / Hylopetes platyurus

Grey-cheeked Flying Squirrel
Hylopetes platyurus

Siberut Flying Squirrel / Petinomys lugens

Siberut Flying Squirrel
Petinomys lugens


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.