Complex-toothed flying squirrel

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Complex-toothed flying squirrel
Temporal range: Early Pleistocene to Recent
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Tribe: Pteromyini
Genus: Trogopterus
Heude, 1898
Species: T. xanthipes
Binomial name
Trogopterus xanthipes
(Milne-Edwards, 1876)

The complex-toothed flying squirrel (Trogopterus xanthipes) is a flying squirrel found in the southern Chinese provinces Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Yunnan. Its name originates from the teeth, which differ from the other flying squirrels. The squirrel looks similar to other flying squirrels, most strikingly is a cluster of black hair at the bottom of the ear. The fur is grey-brown on top and white on bottom. Both its face and its tail are slightly red. The length of the body is about 30 cm, plus the tail which is another 30 cm long. The complex-toothed flying squirrel is near threatened.

T. xanthipes builds its nests in cliffs, usually around 30 m above the ground. They live in mountainous terrain in altitudes of 1300 to 1500 m above sea level, according to some sources up to 2750 m. They are nocturnal; at night they leave their nests and search for nuts, fruits, and branches.

Though five species of the genus Trogopterus had been described, they are now believed to be all of the same sole species T. xanthipes. The closely related hairy-footed flying squirrel (Belomys pearsoni) is sometimes also added to the genus Trogopterus.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the feces of the squirrel, known as "five spirits grease" (五靈脂, wǔ líng zhī) are believed to help against ulcers in the duodenum.


  1. ^ Smith, A. T. & Johnston, C. H. (2008). Trogopterus xanthipes. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 8 January 2009.