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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Indian Giant Flying Squirrel
   
   

Order : RODENTIA
Family : Sciuridae
Species : Petaurista philippensis

Head-Body Length : Up to 49 cm
Tail Length : Up to 55 cm

The Indian Giant Flying Squirrel Petaurista philippensis is one of the largest flying squirrels in the region, similar in size to the Red Giant Flying Squirrel Petaurista petaurista. It inhabits tall forest in hilly and montane regions, including dipterocarp forest and conifer forest.

Its colour varies with geographic location : the fur on its upperside may vary from medium or dark grey to dark brown or dark red, often with the ends of hairs tipped with white. Its underparts may vary from white to greyish white to pale orange. Its tail is typically dark.

Thorington et al (2012) list 10 subspecies, however it is possible that some of these may represent separate species.

Its diet comprises mainly young leaves, as well as flowers, bark and lichens : this is supplemented with fruits when available.

This species occurs in northern parts of the mainland of Southeast Asia, including Burma, Thailand and Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam). Beyond the region it ranges to Sri Lanka, parts of India and southern China.


Fig 1 : Example from Seima Forest, Cambodia. The rufous-brown upperparts, pale face, and dark tail are typical of the subspecies Petaurista philippensis annamensis.

Fig 2 : View of part of Seima Forest, Cambodia - this area still has sufficient tall trees to support a population of Indian Giant Flying Squirrel.

Photos thanks to Celine Low.


References : M5, M10

 

 

Fig 1
 
ゥ  Celine Low
Fig 2
 
ゥ  Celine Low