The colugo (flying lemur) is a gliding animal living in South East Asia’s trees. Even though they are called “flying lemurs,” they are not lemurs and can’t fly. Instead, they glide.
The Sunda flying lemur (Galeopterus variegatus) and the Philippine flying lemur are the two types (Cynocephalus volans). The Sunda flying lemur lives in Thailand, Malaysia, and other parts of South East Asia, while the Philippine flying lemur lives only in the Philippines.
They are good for being one of the best gliders. They have a large membrane that connects their four legs and tail, which lets them “fly” between trees for up to 200 metres. They only come out at night, so they are nocturnal. They eat leaves, flowers, shoots, and fruit. They are herbivores. They live alone and are shy, so not much is known about how they act.
Facts About Colugo
1. It’s Not A Lemur.
They might look like lemurs, but they are not. They are more closely related to primates and tree shrews, though.
2. They Don’t Fly; Instead, They Glide.
The bat is the only animal that can fly on its own. Instead, colugas glide, which works in the same way as a wingsuit.
3. They Are The Most Well-Suited Gliders.
There are many animals that can glide, but the Colugo animal is the best at it. The fury membrane that connects their limbs and tail makes one big sail-like shape that helps them do this. 2
4. The “Span” Of Their Wings Is 30–40cm
Even though they don’t have wings, the membrane they use to glide, called the patagium, is 30 to 40 cm long when it’s stretched out. This is one of the largest mammals that can glide.
5. They Have Feet with Webs
One of the peculiar features of these animals is that they possess webs. This is what helps them glide through the air. With their help, they can move from one tree to another. The same thing happens to bats, and it helps them fly.
6. Their Bones Are Very Light.
The fact that their skeletons are lighter than squirrels help them glide for long distances. This important feature helps animals like these to glide or fly through the air.
7. No One Is Quite Sure Why They Evolved to Glide
Scientists thought they evolved to glide because it saved energy, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case. This means there must be another explanation.
8. Their Teeth Look Like Combs
Their teeth are shaped like a small comb. These are great for cutting through food leaves.
9. They Take Care Of Their Babies Like Marsupials
They are mammals, but like marsupials, they carry their young in a pouch. Their mother uses her wings to make a pouch for the baby to stay in for the first six months.
10. Colugo Babies Weigh Only 35 Grammes When They Are Born.
The babies are very light. They are only 35 grams in weight. Even the adults are not that heavy.
11. Their Eyesight Is Great.
Since they are active at night, they need to be able to see well in the dark. This is why they have such big, cute eyes.
12. The Philippine Eagle Almost Never Eats Anything Else.
This eagle hunts almost exclusively for the Philippine colugo, which makes up 90% of its diet. This eagle is in danger of going extinct, so the colugo is important for it to stay around.
13. You Can Find Them On Plantations Of Coconuts, Bananas, And Rubber.
As people have started farming in their area, they have started to move out of the rainforests that are still natural and into plantations.
14. Both Are In Danger Of Losing Their Homes.
In 2008, the Philippine Colugo was taken off the list of species in danger of extinction. However, habitat loss is still a problem for both species.
General Features Of A Colugo
Even though the vertebral column is one of the most obvious features of vertebrates, the first vertebrates probably only had a notochord. The calugo vertebrate has a separate head, a brain made of tubes, and three sets of sense organs (nasal, optic, and otic). The body is split into the trunk and the tail. If the pharyngeal slits have gills, that means the metabolism is pretty fast.
A well-developed notochord is surrounded by perichordal connective tissue and has a tubular spinal cord in a connective tissue canal above it. Several segmented muscle masses are on either side of the notochord. On the dorsal root of the spinal nerve, a sensory ganglion grows, and segmental autonomic ganglia grow below the notochord. The culugo trunk has a large, two-sided body cavity called the coelom that holds the viscera.
This coelom extends forward into the visceral arches. The oesophagus goes from the back of the mouth to the stomach, and the gut goes from the stomach to the bottom of the body. A pericardial sac surrounds a separate heart that is in front of the liver. Most living things still have the same basic pattern of closed blood vessels. Unique kidneys on both sides are located behind the abdomen (dorsal to the main body cavity). They keep the blood healthy and get rid of waste. Reproductive organs are made from tissue next to the kidneys.
What Do Colugos Look Like?
The development of the notochord, the dorsal nerve tube, and the pharyngeal slits in chordates suggests that they got better at swimming and probably got better at catching prey. Both the structure of the mouth and the relatively simple structure of the pharynx, which has strong gills, show that vertebrates are specialised for actively catching bigger prey.
Again, the two main groups of vertebrates, the agnathans and the gnathostomes, have different ways of eating. There are also a lot of different ways that animals change to help them swim. These changes can be seen in the body shape, the medial fins, and the two pairs of lateral fins.
Do Colugos Bite?
Colugos have never been known to bite people because their natural habitat is usually too far away for us to reach.
Are Colugo Endangered?
Even though Philippine Colugos are not endangered, deforestation and loss of habitat are a threat to them.
Is Colugo A Bat?
The colugo’s fingers and toes have webs between them. Because of this, colugos were once thought to be related to bats. They are now thought to be more related to primates based on genetic information.
Can A Colugo Fly?
These small, furry, tree-dwelling animals are also called colugos. They can’t fly and aren’t lemurs but are also called colugos. But in the forests of Southeast Asia, where they live, they can glide a long way between trees. They are also the closest living relatives of primates in terms of their genes.
Is A Colugo A Squirrel?
So, what is a colugo? Even though they are not related to flying squirrels, they have a large membrane (patagium) that connects to their hands and feet like flying squirrels. In fact, the patagium of the colugo is the largest of any mammal.
FAQs: Colugo (Flying lemur)
Where Does Colugo Live?
They live in the rainforests of southeast Asia.
How Long Does Colugo Live?
The colugo has a lifespan of 15 years in captivity. However, their life span is a topic that researchers can still study.
How Big Are Colugo?
Colugos are around 35-40 cm long and weigh about 1-2 kilograms. The colour of their bodies is mottled grey, sometimes reddish.
What Do Colugos Eat?
They feed on shoots, leaves, sap, flowers, fruits etc., meaning that they are herbivores.
What Are Predators Of Colugos?
Pythons, long-tailed macaques, Philippine Monkey-eating eagles, and owls are some common predators of colugos.
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.