Fantastic flyers: 10 animals that fly in surprising ways – The Natural History Museum


Posted: August 24, 2020 at 11:54 am

1. Colugos

The colugo (Cynocephalidae) can glide for 100 metres or more between trees, making it one of the most skilled gliding mammal. It's found in southeast Asia and is sometimes referred to as the flying lemur.

Its membrane, the patagium, is like that of the flying squirrel except it starts at its face and covers its fingers and toe tips through to the tail.

The colugo's limbs and tail are long and slender, and its feet are broad and have strong, sharp recurved claws for climbing. Its lightweight skeleton and wide surface area of the patagium perfectly equip it for gliding.

Colugos have large eyes that give them brilliant depth perception, which helps them to glide between trees and land safely. They are such skilled gliders that they can transport their babies on to their stomachs until they are old enough to glide on their own.

Colugos eat saps, leaves and shoots. They have comb-shaped teeth, which some scientists believe may act as food strainers or scrapers, or maybe used for grooming to remove parasites from their fur. Habitat fragmentation, hunting and deforestation are threatening their numbers.

Image Yuttana Joe via Shutterstock

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Fantastic flyers: 10 animals that fly in surprising ways - The Natural History Museum

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