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Japan's Flying Squirrels

This introductory video, titled "3 Flying Squirrels" (匹のモモンガ), was created by Shinji Kawamura. It captures footage of three flying squirrels.
The Ezo momonga (Ezo flying squirrel), native to Hokkaido, Japan (known in Japanese as "Ezo Momonga," scientific name: Pteromys volans orii) are small mammals who are members of the order Rodentia, family Sciuridae, and subfamily Sciurinae and belong to the tribe Pteromyini.

The characteristic feature of the flying squirrel is its gliding membrane which allows it to glide distances of 20 to 50 meters. They are nocturnal animals who are very active at night.
They tend to live in small groups, and as you can see in this video, these three flying squirrels live in the same tree burrow.
They reach about 15cm in length, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

They are omnivorous animals, feeding on mainly tree leaf buds, flowers, leaves, bark and seeds. At 0:49 in the video, you can see how they grasp the twigs carefully in their tiny hands and nibble away at the buds.
The sight of them grasping the branches with their nimble fingers is adorable!
See for yourself!

Differences Between the Wild Ezo Momonga and Popular Pet Sugar Glider

Image of an Ezo flying squirrel
Photo:Ezo flying squirrel

Flying squirrels and Sugar Gliders are similar in appearance but they differ in their scientific classification.
Flying Squirrels are members of the Rodentia order, and Sciuridae family, whereas Sugar Gliders are members of the Marsupialia order, and Petauridae family.
In other words, flying squirrels are rodents similar to squirrels whereas sugar gliders are marsupials, similar to kangaroos and other animals with a pouch used to carry their young.

The sugar gliders you find in most pet stores are friendly and used to being around humans, making them easier to care for than flying squirrels.
The cost of buying a sugar glider varies depending on the color of its coat, although a typical brown sugar glider usually costs around 20,000 yen.
The average life expectancy of a sugar glider is 5 to 7 years and they feed mostly on fruits, nuts and berries.
They communicate through various calls; however, they are relatively quiet animals and easy to look after making them popular as pets in recent years.

Differences Between Wild Flying Squirrels and the Japanese Giant Flying Squirrel

Image of a Japanese giant flying squirrel
Photo:Japanese giant flying squirrel

Flying squirrels and the Japanese Giant flying squirrel are both members of the Rodentia order, and Sciurinae subfamily and belong to the Pteromyini tribe; however, the Japanese Giant flying squirrel also belongs to the Petaurista genus.

In the past they were thought to be of the same species.
The Japanese Giant flying squirrel has a larger body than a flying squirrel, roughly double the size.
Thanks to its size, the Japanese Giant flying squirrel can also glide significantly further, up to a distance of 100 meters.

The Flying Squirrels Native to Japan and the Southern Flying Squirrel

The wild flying squirrels of Japan are under threat from the Southern flying squirrel.

There is concern over the cross-breeding of Southern flying squirrels and wild Japanese flying squirrels. Southern flying squirrels are an invasive species and the importation of such species is prohibited in order to prevent any damage to the ecosystem of the Japanese flying squirrels.

Summary of Japan's Flying Squirrels

How did you find the video? We hope it helps you understand the difference between the Ezo Momonga and other small, similar-looking mammals.

This video gives you a great view of the white, fluffy-coated Ezo Momonga as it plays in the tree tops.
I think the footage at 1:06 of them slipping into their tiny tree burrow will bring a smile to your face!
Enjoy taking a close look at the wonderful Ezo Momonga, an animal that, because of its small size, is hard to catch a glimpse of in nature!

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Last Updated : Jun. 7, 2021
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The Cute Ezo Momonga - Discover the Flying Squirrels of Japan!
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