Travancore flying squirrel
|Travancore flying squirrel|
Petinomys fuscocapillus (Kelaart, 1850)
Travancore flying squirrel (Petinomys fuscocapillus), also known as the small flying squirrel, is a flying squirrel found in South India and Sri Lanka. Travancore flying squirrels were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered in 1989 after a gap of 100 years in Kerala. It was rediscovered in Sri Lanka after 78 years. The animals were reported only in wet and intermediate zones of the island, and had a few sightings in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Before these discoveries, distribution of the species was only known through a few possible occurrences and museum specimens which were collected nearly one hundred years before.
Head and body length is 32cm. Tail is 25-29cm. Dorsally reddish brown. Underparts grayish with a ruddy tinge. Tail is feather-shaped and reddish brown with a blackish undersurface. Membrane behind hind limb is small. Vibrissae is black. Dorsal fur is very soft, long and sheen.
There are 2 subspecies, as;
- Petinomys fuscocapillus fuscocapillus (Jerdon, 1847) - Western Ghats of Peninsular India
- Petinomys fuscocapillus layardi (Kelaart, 1850) - Sri Lanka.
Distribution of the species is only known through a few possible occurrences and museum specimens which were collected nearly hundred years ago. The species was considered to be extinct in India until 1989, when it was rediscovered in a coconut grove in Kerala state, India. In Sri Lanka it was reported by Phillips in 1935 from the wet and intermediate zones of the island, and subsequently the occurrence of this species was confirmed by some camera traps in Sinharaja tropical rain forest. The group of researchers found this mammal from Sri Lanka after 78 years from Knuckles mountain range.
Rare, nocturnal mammal with frugivorous diet, they are known to eat bark, shoots, and leaves, and even insects also..
- Ananthakrishnan G. (3/12/2006) Squirrels in focus, the Hindu, retrieved 6/13/2007 Two flying squirrel species
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