Flying Lemur (Cynocephalus volans, C. variegatus)


Family: †††††††††††††††††† Cynocephalidae.

Status:†††††††††††††††††††† Vulnerable.

Size:††††††††††††††††††††††† Length 13 to 17 in., Tail 7 to 11 in., Weight 2 to 4 lbs.

Diet:††††††††††††††††††††††† Herbivore.

Characteristics:††††††† Solitary, nocturnal.

Area:†††††††††††††††††††††† Asia.

Offspring:††††††††††††††† One.



       The flying lemur is also known as a colugo, cobego or kagwag.

       The longest glide for a flying lemur was recorded at 136 metres (450 ft.).

       Almost 90% of the Philippine Eagleís diet consists of flying lemur.

       Although its teeth resemble those of carnivores, the flying lemur's diet consists of fruit and leaves.



The flying lemur doesnít fly and it isnít a lemur, but received its name because of its nocturnal habit and the shape of its fox-like head, both of which are reminiscent of lemurs. Like flying squirrels, lemurs actually glide rather than fly. They have flaps of skin that surround almost the entire body and extend from the fingers and toes to the tail. When the flying lemur wants to glide from one tree to another, it holds its arms and legs out, creating a parachute or wing-glider type of effect, soaring 50 to 100 metres in one effortless motion. Flying lemurs never purposely descend to the ground, where they move slowly and awkwardly due to the large flaps of skins that hang from their bodies, rendering them nearly helpless when they attempt to walk upright. They spend their entire lives up in trees, sleeping in tree hollows or hanging upside down from branches during the heat of the day. The flying lemur eats a diet consisting entirely of leaves, buds, fruit and flowers, but only from certain species of plants. The destruction of its habitat has therefore been fatal for this animal, and because itís difficult to find the right food for them when in captivity, captive flying lemurs often meet early deaths. It eats by grabbing a branch, pulling it towards its mouth and biting off a piece of leaf. Water is obtained by licking drops from wet leaves. Flying lemurs are solitary animals and although up to 12 may be found per hectare, if two males find themselves in the same tree, they become aggressive toward each other until one leaves.



The Philippine flying lemur (C. volans) is found only on islands belonging to the Philippines, while the Malayan flying lemur (C. variegates) is found in the rainforests of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo. Malayan flying lemurs are larger and lighter coloured than Philippine flying lemurs, and have more white spots on their backs.



Because theyíre not often successfully kept in captivity, knowledge about the flying lemurís reproduction is limited. The female usually has one baby after a two-month pregnancy. The newborn is extremely helpless and attaches itself to its motherís belly, where itís carried in a pouch the mother fashions from her skin flaps. The oldest flying lemur in captivity was kept for 17.5 years before it escaped.