When a group of volunteers from APE Malaysia visited Sepilok Discovery Centre recently, they were lucky enough to witness an amazing sight: the Giant Red Flying Squirel in full flight, just above their heads. This remarkable rodent, which is deep red in colour, is quite widesspread in South East Asia, but local habitat desctruction still poses a threat for this nocturnal species.
This GIANT RED FLYING SQUIRREL (Petaurista petaurista) glided beautifully over our heads as we watched from the canopy walk at the Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok.
This rodent is deep red in colour and has a black extremities. It can grow a head and body length of up to 42 cm with a tail just as long or a little longer. It is nocturnal and arboreal, nesting in tree holes of tall rainforest trees.
To “fly”, the giant red flying squirrel will launch itself from a high point of a tree and spread the membrane between its front and hind legs, while the long tail provides stability as it glides from tree to tree. It is reported to be able to glide distances of up to 75 metres.
The diet is mainly leaves but it also eats nuts, insects, seeds and fruits, particularly the binuang and laran, both of which are among species we plant at our tree-planting sites.
Destruction of habitat is the greatest threat to this squirrel. This widely distributed species has been recorded from northern South Asia, southern China and Southeast Asia.
American International School, Hong Kong, Rainforest Discovery Centre Sandakan #EnvironementalEducation, APE Malaysia, #EnvironmentalEducation
Posted by APE Malaysia on Friday, 21 October 2016