Facts About the Palawan Flying Squirrel
Some animals evolve remarkable features in order to adapt to its environment, increase its chance to survive, or just plain convenience. For some animals, features are developed allowing them to make life easier for them. Among these animals is the Palawan flying squirrel.
Although the flying squirrel is called “flying”, in reality they don’t fly. They actually glide from tree to tree. The flying squirrel grew appendages that allowed them to enjoy the benefits of “flying.” It’s amazing how animals like the flying squirrel can do that without external power source.
Characteristics of the Palawan Flying Squirrel
The Palawan flying squirrel, known in scientific circles as Hylopetes nigripes has a tail shaped like an arrow. This is why it is also called the Palawan arrow-tailed flying squirrel. The Palawan flying squirrel grows to about two feet. The length of its tails is about half its total length. The fur is generally grayish. It has a squirrel-like head with big ears. What make flight possible to the Palawan flying squirrel are its fur-covered membranes alongside its body, stretched from the front and hind limbs of the squirrel during flight.
Habitat of the Palawan Flying Squirrel
The Palawan flying squirrel lives among trees of mixed old and secondary growth and secondary growth of dipterocarps. Palawan flying squirrels inhabit and nest in hollows of trees in the lowlands. They may, however, be present in higher elevations. They move briskly among the branches and trunks especially at night since they are nocturnal or active at night.
Feeding Habit of the Palawan Flying Squirrel
The Palawan flying squirrel, just like other squirrels, feed on nuts as well as fruits and young shoots of trees. This feeding habit aids in the dispersal of seeds.
Distribution of the Palawan Flying Squirrel
The Palawan flying squirrel is native to mainland Palawan in southwestern Philippines. They are also found in the municipality of Balabac. They are also found in the Victoria Range in Aborlan, Tabon Cave in the western side of the municipality of Quezon in mainland Palawan, and Lake Danao or Manguao in the municipality of Taytay in Palawan mainland.
Conservation Status of the Palawan Flying Squirrel
The Palawan flying squirrel destroys crops including corn, squash and beans. Although common, the squirrel’s destructive behavior cause farmers to hunt them down and deplete their populations.
Esselstyn, J. A., Widmann, P. and L. R. Heaney, 2004. The mammals of Palawan Island, Philippines. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(3):271-302.
Rabor, D. S, 1986. Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna: Birds and Mammals. Natural Resource Management Center, Ministry of Natural Resources and University of the Philippines.
©Patrick A. Regoniel 18 November 2010 Facts About the Palawan Flying Squirrel