Red giant flying squirrel

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Red giant flying squirrel
Petaurista petaurista - Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria - Genoa, Italy - DSC02773.JPG
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Petaurista
Species: P. petaurista
Binomial name
Petaurista petaurista
(Pallas, 1766)
Petaurista petaurista distribution (gray, filled).png


The red giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista) is a species of flying squirrel, which ranges from the eastern regions of Afghanistan, into northern India and Pakistan through to Java, and Taiwan, and also Sri Lanka. It can also be found in parts of Borneo. This species was recorded in Peninsular Malaysia, included Penang, Tioman Island and also Singapore.[2] This species also recorded from many localities throughout Sabah and Sarawak, up to 900m on Mount Kinabalu, excluding the range of P. p. nigrescens, which is known only from the forests around Sandakan Bay north of Kinabatangan River.[3]

Giant flying squirrels (Petuarista sp.) have highest diversity in term of species richness and population diversity in Southeast Asia.[4]


P. p. grandis

Like all other species of flying squirrels, it has a membrane of skin between its legs, which is used to glide between trees. It is characterised by its dark red colouring and large eyes. When compared to other species of squirrels, this species is large, being on average 422mm long. Entire body dark reddish except for black on nose, chin, eye-ring, behind the ears, feet and tail tip.[5]

Ecology and habitat[edit]

In the wild, it feeds primarily on conifer cones, leaves and branches, and, when in season, fruits and nuts, and occasionally insects. It is able to glide for long distances. There have been reports of distances up to 75 metres (250 ft.) or greater; glide angles are generally 40-60 degrees from the horizontal, occasionally steeper for shorter glides. Their nest holes usually at least 10m above ground. The Red Giant Flying Squirrel is nocturnal and does not hibernate, but migrates to areas with more food. P. petaurista also able to explore secondary conifer plantations and use this habitat as feeding and resting areas.

P. petaurista is most active between sunset and midnight and the home range of adult females in conifer plantation was estimated to be 3.2ha[6]

The red giant flying squirrel is believed to mate twice a year but females usually breed once a year. The young are born in February and August in litters of one to two.[7]


  1. ^ Walston, J., Duckworth, J. W., Sarkur, S. U. & Molur, S. (2008). Petaurista petaurista. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  2. ^ Khan, M.M. (1992). Mamalia Semenanjung Malaysia. Department of Wildlife and National Parks,Kuala Lumpur.
  3. ^ Payne,J., C.M. Francis and K.Philips (1985). A field guide to mammals of Borneo. The Sabah Society and World Wild Fund, Kota Kinabalu
  4. ^ Hanocki,H.J.,Kinman,K.E.& Koeppl, J.W.(1982). Mammals Species of The World:A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Lawrence, Kansas:Allen Press, Inc and The Assoc. of Systematic Collection.
  5. ^ Payne,J., C.M. Francis and K.Philips (1985). A field guide to mammals of Borneo. The Sabah Society and World Wild Fund, Kota Kinabalu.
  6. ^ Lin,Y.S.,Wang,L.Y. & Lee, L.L. (1988). The behaviour and activity pattern of giant squirrels(Petaurista p.grandis).Quarterly Journal of Chinese Forestry, 21:81
  7. ^ Lee,P.F., Lin,Y.S., Progulske,D.R. (1993). Reproductive Biology of the Red-Giant Flying Squirrel, Petaurista petaurista, in Taiwan. Journal of Mammalogy, 74:982-989