Flying Lemurs – They Don’t Fly And They’re Not Lemurs, But They Are Very Accomplished Gliders

Have you ever wondered what a Pokémon would look like in real life?

With the numerous creatures in the video game, and with a lot of them being inspired by real animals, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you could think of at least one Pokémon that exists IRL.

But let me show you this cute species for now.

PHOTO: Flickr/Danielle Brigida

Did it already captivate you with its big eyes and small ears?

In my case, it did.

These creatures are called Colugos. They’re tiny mammals and are more commonly called flying lemurs. This can be confusing, as they are not lemurs or even remotely related to lemurs, and they are also incapable of flying.

They are, however, excellent gliders. They can jump up to 200 feet from tree to tree because of their unique body.

You can say that the colugos are comprised mostly of skin because its patagium, a membranous body part that assists an animal in obtaining lift when gliding, starts from their faces and goes to the tips of their tails and claws. A biologist even said that the colugos have the greatest surface area between their limbs and that they can essentially fly without actually evolving an entire wing as bats did.

Their patagium isn’t only good for flying though. These mammals also use them to carry their offspring, much like kangaroos carry their babies in their pouches. Colugo babies can cling to their mothers even while gliding, and the added weight is never an issue for these capable gliders.

A fascinating fun fact about this creature is that they’re said to be the closest living relative to primates. Yes. Colugos are closely related to humans, even though we look nothing alike.

Unfortunately, not much else is known about these nocturnal mammals. They are native to Southeast Asia, and there are two known species, the Sunda flying lemur and the Philippine flying lemur. These animals cannot be kept in captivity, as they need a massive and high space for gliding to keep their patagium healthy, but, thankfully, they are not endangered.

Watch more about these fascinating creatures in the video below.

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