Sunda flying lemur is widespread in Thailand, throughout Malaysia, in the islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo and in part of the Philippine archipelago. It inhabits the rainforest, but is also found in coconut, banana and rubber plantations.
The species is considered low risk according to the criteria of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are exclusively arboreal animals with crepuscular-nocturnal habits. During the day it sleeps by hanging with its paws on a branch.
The patagio allows them to move elegantly gliding from one tree to another, covering distances of over one hundred meters with a jump. They are also excellent climbers, as they do not move quickly on the ground. It emits a high-pitched, unpleasant cry that can be heard from afar.
Despite its common name, the Sunda flying lemur has nothing to do with lemurs. It is rather the size and conformation of a cat, with a tapered snout and a face reminiscent of a bat, large eyes and small rounded ears. Like the other dermoptera, it has a large membrane, called patagio, which stretches from the neck to the fingertips of the four limbs and to the tail and can become a kind of hammock where to welcome the baby.
Sunda flying lemur and its secrets
With all four of their feet, they cling on to the trunk of a tree or the underside of branches. Climbing involves stretching out their two front legs and then bringing up their two back legs, which results in an awkward hopping.
They can glide more than 100 m with minimal loss in elevation. In general, the diet of the Sunda flying lemur consists mainly of leaves. It usually consumes leaves with less potassium and nitrogen-containing compounds, but with higher tannin.
The Sunda flying lemur needs a certain distance to glide and to land to avoid injury. The highest landing forces are experienced after short glides; longer glides lead to softer landings, due to the colugo's ability to brake its glide aerodynamically.
The ability to glide increases a colugo's access to scattered food resources in the rainforest, without increasing exposure to terrestrial or arboreal predators.