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.
Family: Sciuridae, Pteromyini
Description: A medium-sized glider with a soft, greyish-yellow pelage. Its upper parts are dark, with black under-fur and its guard hairs are black at base with white to buff tips. It has a large orange spot behind its black-tipped round ears, while the base of its ears is a bright russet.
Its throat is white, and the remainder of its underparts are greyish, due to black under-fur and white tips of guard hairs. Its feet are black but its legs and the outer margins of its gliding membranes are orange. The upper side of its feet are dusky in colour.
Distribution: Ranges from south-eastern Tibet (= Xizang, China) and Liaoning, Beijing, Hebei, Shanxi, Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces in China. Within this region it occurs in subtropical forests on mountains and hills between
Reproduction: Mating takes place during mid to late December and early to
Diet: Feeds on the branches and leaves of Oriental Thuja (Platycladus orientalis), Rhododendron (Rhododendron micranthum), Liaodong Oak (Quercus liaotungensis), Chinese Red Pine (Pinus tabulaeformis), Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus), Thuja (Thuja sp.) and Hazel (Corylus sp.). Food found left in nest crevices included mountain apricot, mountain peach, hickory nuts and acorns.
Ecology: Lives in grottoes or crevices, most of which are situated 30 metres high, in the middle of cliffs. One individual occupied a nest, round in shape,
No fights were observed between animals caught from the same cliff, which included two females and six young that readily slept together in the same nest box. Animals kept in captivity have lived for more than 10 years, but there are no data on individuals in the wild. The collection of animals for their excrement (called faeces trogopterori) is widely used in Chinese and Korean medicine for the treatment of duodenal ulcers (by protecting the gastric mucosa) and for pain relief. This has contributed to the decline of animals in the wild.
Status: Near Threatened.
Kashmir Flying Squirrel
Hose’s Pygmy Flying Squirrel
Japanese Giant Flying Squirrel