Sat. Dec 15th, 2018

What is a Colugo? The Adorable Flying Lemurs of Southeast Asia

colugo

Image Source: Pixabay

High in the trees of Southeast Asia lives a small creature unbeknownst to much of the world. The colugo is a gliding mammal that ‘fly’ up to 200 feet between trees without losing much altitude. Their gliding membrane, the patagium, is one of the more striking adaptations in the animal kingdom.

Also known as flying lemurs, even though they’re not really lemurs, the colugo is probably the most well adapted mammal for flight. The patagium fills in all the space between their legs and tail. This is about as much flight surface as a mammal can have without evolving a full wing.

Size & Reproduction

Colugos can grow to about a foot long (14-16 inches) and weigh between 2 and 4 lbs. Colugo babies are completely reliant on their mothers and at birth may weigh only an ounce. They spent their first 6 months clinging to mom’s belly. The mother protects the young by folding her patagium around them like a pouch.

There are 2 species of colugo. Galeopterus variegatus (Malayan colugo) and Cynocephalus volans (Philippine colugo) both live in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. Their range covers Thailand, Malaysia, Java, Borneo, Vietnam, Kampuchea, and the Philippines.

Flying Lemur & Baby, Bohol
By Kok Leng Yeo [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Endangerment Status

Colugos are considered by the IUCN to to be at least concern but they’re still vulnerable to habitat destruction and hunting. They are frequently hunted for their meat and fur. According to Wikipedia, colugos possibly account for up to 90% of the diet of the Philippine eagle.

Diet

Colugos are herbivores. They eat leaves, flowers, & fruit. It’s also likely that they munch on shoots and sweet sap from trees. There is no evidence of these creatures eating insects or other small mammals.

Videos

Colugo baby in mother’s care:

National Geographic


Sources: WikipediaZME Science, Jrank.org

I’m an aspiring writer from Santa Monica, CA who writes about a little bit of everything. I love paranormal stuff, working out, nature, wildlife, and general humor.

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