Sunda Colugo Facts (Sunda Flying Lemur Information)

sunda colugo

Sunda Colugo (Flying Lemur):

Sunda colugo, popularly known as flying lemur, is a unique animal that is known for its gliding proficiency. It is also known by the names Malayan Colugo or Malayan flying lemur. ‘Colugo’ means an arboreal gliding mammal, which is a small group having only two species- the Sunda flying lemur and the Philippine flying lemur. The Sunda flying lemur is a little fuzzy creature that is neither a true lemur nor can fly. The species is strictly arboreal and never goes on the ground. 

Sunda Flying Lemur Information:

The Sunda flying lemur is a small animal that reaches up to the length of 1.08 to 1.37 feet, and their body weighs up to 2 to 4.5 pounds. Sunda colugo has speckled and dense fur that ranges in white, black, red, or gray color on the backside while pale at the frontal side of their body. The bald patches of fur on their body simulate lichen on the trees and provide them camouflage.

  • The animal has two large eyes, small ears, head, and a broad forehead.
  • Its snout has a dampen shape with no whiskers.
  • The species have a special skin membrane called a patagium that grants them to glide.
  • The patagium is completely furred membrane spreading with limbs from the neck to toes, fingers, and nails.
  • During gliding, the extension of the patagium is about 2.3 feet. Flying lemurs have four equal-sized limbs and webbed feet. 

Sunda Colugo Scientific Name: 

The scientific name of the sunda colugo is ‘Galeopterus Variegatus’.

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Sunda Colugo Classification:

Following is the classification or taxonomy of the Sunda flying lemur-

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
Sub-PhylumVertebrate
ClassMammalia
OrderDermoptera
FamilyCynocephalidae
GenusGaleopterus
SpeciesGaleopterus Variegatus
Classification table

Sunda Flying Lemur Habitat:

Sunda colugo is adapted to live in different types of vegetation such as- disturbed forest edges, primary and secondary forests, lowland and upland forests, mangrove swamps. They inhabit in Southeast Asia, eastern Myanmar, and the Malay Peninsula, and the islands of Indonesia. 

Sunda Colugo Diet:

The animals are strictly herbivorous. Their diet includes soft eating plants, young leaves, buds, flowers, fruits, nectar, and sap. 

Sunda Colugo Predators:

There are only a few known predators of Sunda colugo. The human being is the major one; humans hunt them for their meat and fur, which is used for making hats and other luxury products. Another reported predator of flying lemur is hawk-eagle. When threatened, the animal becomes freeze on its place or climb higher. To escape predators, they also glide away up to 100 meters with little loss of height. 

Sunda flying Lemur Adaptations:

Sunda colugo is a mainly nocturnal creature; they sleep during the daytime in tree holes or the dense foliage of the treetops. They use all their four limbs to hold the underside of the tree branches or tree trunks. While climbing, they can stretch out their two front limbs and bring up the back limbs; this gives them hopping like appearance. The species are arboreal and never go to the ground. On the forest land, they can be helpless and vulnerable. Sundo flying lemurs are solitary animals and live alone. But, sometimes, they can be seen in groups of small members. They can be territorial of foraging and sleeping areas, although very little is known about their territorial behavior.

Technically, Sunda colugo cannot fly, but they are excellent gliders and can glide for an average distance of about 330 feet. The longest recorded gliding of Sunda colugo was 446 feet. When they spread their limbs out, the patagium catches air and allows them to glide long distances without much loss in altitude. These also help them to move easily between treetops.

Mating Habits of Sunda Flying Lemur:

Not much is known about the reproduction of flying lemurs, but they can mate at any time of the year. Baby Sunda colugo is born after the incubation period of 60 days. At the time of birth, the offspring is undeveloped and weighs about 35 grams. The babies are weak and are entirely dependent on their mothers until they are weaned. A mother folds her patagium and makes a pouch-like sac to keep its baby warm and protected. When a mother is gliding, the baby attaches to her underside. The baby reached adulthood and became independent at the age of 3.

Sunda Colugo Population:

According to the Encyclopedia of life, the estimated population of Sunda flying lemurs is about 1,000. Under the IUCN red list of threatened species, Sunda colugo is classified as least concern. However, their population is decreasing rapidly. They are endangered due to the loss of habitat from logging and conversion of forests into farming lands. The locals hunt them for their meat and fur. Sunda flying lemurs eat fruits and flowers and so they have a role in seed dispersal and flower pollination.

Flying lemur Facts:

  • The flying lemur’s name is misleading as the animal is not a lemur and cannot truly fly. 
  • The species were classified as or linked with insectivorous, bats, and primates.
  • The species are difficult to breed and keep alive in captivity.
  • A Sunda colugo is comfortable while hanging underneath a tree branch as it is sitting on the stem.
  • The flying lemur mainly forages in tree canopies and may also feed on a range of tree species in one night. Sometimes, it will lick tree bark from certain trees to obtain water, salts, minerals, and nutrients.
  • The animal can aeronautically brake its glide. To glide and land without any injury, they need some distance. Short glides lead to the strongest landing force while a soft landing occurs after glides.
  • Their lifespan in the wild is unknown. However, the oldest known individual lived for 17 years in captivity.  

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