CAN FLYING SQUIRRELS REALLY FLY?



Contrary to what you might think there is more than one flying squirrel. In fact there are 15 genera of flying squirrels which host approximately 44 species. The largest of which being the woolly flying squirrel -Eupetaurus cinereus, a native to Pakistani controlled Kashmir.

Related to our more commonly seen tree squirrels, flying squirrels are not capable of powered flight like birds or bats. Instead, they glide between trees using a specialised skin membrane that are connected between their front and hind limbs.

They are capable of obtaining lift within the course of these flights, and are able to reach distances as far as 300 ft! The direction and speed of the animal in mid-air is varied by changing the positions of its two arms and legs. This is largely controlled by small cartilaginous wrist bones.

This changes the tautness of the skin membrane - known as the patagium, a furry parachute-like membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle.

It has a fluffy tail that stabilizes in flight. The tail also acts as an adjunct aerofoil, working as an air brake before landing on a tree trunk.

For related articles click onto the following links:
WHERE TO FIND RED SQUIRRELS
THE FLYING SQUIRREL

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