Black flying squirrel (Aeromys tephromelas)
    Several locations, South-east Asia
    Individuals can have tails over half a metre long.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Pakistan woolly flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus)
    Northern Pakistan
    Until the mid-nineties, the Pakistan woolly flying squirrel was thought to be extinct, but the species was rediscovered in 1994 in the western Himalayas in northern Pakistan. Salajit, a mixture of its urine and faeces, is prized as a traditional medicine.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Pel’s scaly-tailed flying squirrel (Anomalurus pelii)
    Liberia, Ivory Coast and Ghana
    The squirrels make dens in tree hollows, occupied by up to six animals. Individuals call to one another in deep hoots and hiss and snap their teeth when disturbed in their dens.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Complex-toothed Flying Squirrel (Trogopterus xanthipes)
    China and Tibet
    The complex-toothed flying squirrel lives off a diet including mountain peaches and acorns. They are captured for the collection of their faeces, a traditional Chinese medicine, contributing to a drop in numbers in the wild.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Travancore flying squirrel (Petinomys fuscocapillus)
    Southern India and Sri Lanka
    The travancore flying squirrel was thought to be extinct till 1989 when individuals were found in Kerala, India. Its penchant for tender coconuts can result in serious damage to plantations where farmers offer bounties on their heads.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Greater glider (Petauroides volans)
    South-east Queensland to central Victoria, east coast of Australia
    Unlike other Australian gliders, the greater glider’s gliding membrane extends only from its elbow, rather than its wrist, to its ankle. It feeds almost exclusively on gum leaves.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Indian giant flying squirrel (Petaurista philippensis)
    Several locations including India, Sri Lanka and South-east Asia
    Indian giant flying squirrels are particularly partial to mangoes and the fruits of the Tamarind tree. Animals sleep on their backs with their legs and gliding membranes spread out to keep cool in hot weather.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Mentawai flying squirrel (Iomys sipora)
    Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
    The endangered Mentawai flying squirrel is only found on two islands in the Mentawai chain. Little is known about squirrel that was previously thought to be a subspecies of the Javanese flying squirrel.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Grey-headed giant flying squirrel (Petaurista caniceps)
    Nepal, China and Burma
    The grey-headed flying squirrel lives in mountainous regions up to 3600m above sea level. It exists on a diet of fir cones, buds and rhododendron leaves.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Red and white giant flying squirrel (Petaurista alborufus)
    Tibet, China, Burma and Thailand
    These big squirrels nest in tree hollows and limestone caves, typically 2000-3000m above sea level, and can weigh up to 2kg.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Lord Derby’s scaly-tailed flying squirrel (Anomslurus derbianus)
    Central, West and East Africa
    Animals of the species live mainly off tree bark. They make a range of noises, from defensive hisses and growls to twitters and purrs.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Feathertail glider (Acrobates pygmaeus)
    Eastern Australia
    Roughly the size of a mouse, this is the smallest species of gliding mammals.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Northern glider (Petaurus abidi)
    New Guinea
    This tropical glider enjoys its fruit, known to feed on figs in the wild and enjoying guavas, bananas and lilly pilly berries in captivity.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis)
    Eastern Australia
    Inhabits forests dominated by mature tall eucalypts in temperate and subtropical eastern Australia. It eats invertebrates and extracts sap from trees by cutting a v-shaped notch in the trunk.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Biak glider (Petaurus biacensis)
    Papua
    Common in gardens and village areas on certain islands in the Schouten Group, north-west of Papua.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)
    New Guinea and 27 surrounding islands, across northern and eastern Australia
    Has the widest distribution of any of the marsupial gliders.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Mahogany glider (Petaurus gracilis)
    North Queensland
    This critically endangered glider has one of the smallest natural distributions of almost any mammal.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis)
    Eastern Australia
    Grunts help individuals to avoid each other’s territory.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista elegans)
    Several locations from Nepal to Borneo
    The widely distributed spotted giant flying squirrel lives in range of habitats, from rocky cliffs in the Himalayas to oak-rhododendron forests in Nepal.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

    North Chinese Flying Squirrel (Aeretes melanopterus)
    Central China
    Little is known about the north Chinese flying squirrel that lives in two isolated pockets in china. It is one of the smallest of the giant flying squirrels with a body length up to 36cm.

    Photo Credit: Peter Shouten

Gallery: Gliding mammals in the world

By AG STAFF | February 12, 2013

As forest canopies thinned, some tree-dwellers evolved to glide between branches. Six of them live in Australia.