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.
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.