6 animals that fly (but are not birds)

Flying ray

The flying ray is at the top of our list of animals that can fly. Most people call these flying rays Mobula rays or devil rays. They are in the genus Mobula and are related to manta rays. There are 11 known species in the genus. They live in warm water all over the world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California.

These rays can get as wide as 17 feet and can jump as high as 6 feet. Like most of the animals on this list, flying rays can’t fly for long periods of time, but they can move a long way and slap the water hard when they land. Researchers don’t know for sure why these rays jump, but they think it might have something to do with getting a mate.

There are many animals in this big world besides birds that can fly. We have only touched on a few of the most interesting flying animals here. Flying snakes, devil rays, colugos, and flying squid are just some of the strange animals that can use the sky to get around and do other things.

Squids that fly

Flying squid are just as strange as the flying fish we talked about earlier, but they are even stranger. Who would have thought that a squid would jump out of the water and fly right by your boat? There are many kinds of flying squid, but the most striking one is the Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus).

At the top of its body, the Japanese flying squid has pectoral fins that look like wings. They don’t help the squid move, but they do make it easier for it to glide. This kind of squid lives in the Northern Pacific Ocean, near Japan, Russia, China, and even Alaska. Arrow squid (Nototodarus gouldi) have been seen shooting water jets to fly up to 10 feet high and more than 30 feet away.


Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They belong to the order Chiroptera. The tiny bumblebee bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai) weighs only 0.07 ounces, while the golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) can weigh up to 3 pounds. These animals eat many different things, like insects, fruit, nectar, and animal blood.

Most bats are active at night, but they can be found all over the world. Their thin, membrane-like wings are a unique way for them to move, and their different ways of flying make it easy to tell them apart. Insect-eating bats can hang out in caves with up to a few thousand other bats at once, while other bats live alone. Some people even build bat houses on their property to get bats to live there and get rid of other bugs that fly around.

Flying fox

Next are any of the 65 species of fruit bats in the genus Pteropus that are called “flying foxes.” Even though these are also bats, they are so different from each other that they deserve their own discussion. Flying foxes, which are also known as “old world fruit bats,” live on the tropical islands of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. They can also be found on the Asian mainland. They don’t use echolocation to find their way around like other bats do. They mostly eat fruit.

Some of the smallest bats in the world are the smallest flying foxes. The long-tongued nectar bat (Macroglossus minimus) is only 2 to 3 inches long and has a 10 inch wingspan. It uses its tongue to get pollen and nectar. Members of the flying fox family are also some of the biggest bats in the world. The golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) has wings that are six feet long. It is so big that people hunt it for food.

Fish that fly

Exocoetidae is a family of flying fish that has more than 40 different species. These fish have special pectoral fins that can be stretched out and flattened. This lets them jump out of the water and glide at up to 37 mph. Flying fish swim quickly to the surface and use their fins to glide for more than 600 feet, even getting as high as 4 feet in the air.

They can be found all over the world, mostly in the open ocean, but some species also live near coral reefs. They live in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian Oceans. Flying fish can get as long as 18 inches and are drawn to light. Some fishermen use small amounts of water and a lure light attached to a canoe to get these fish to jump right into the canoe and catch themselves.

Squirrel that flies

Flying squirrels are part of the Pteromyini tribe, which has more than 50 different species. They are another kind of mammal that can’t really fly but can glide for a very long time. Some species can glide up to 1,500 feet because they have loose skin and muscles between their legs. These squirrels are active at night and will jump from treetops or cliffs to get moving.

Some species, like the dwarf flying squirrel of the genus Petaurillus, are only 3 inches long, while the giant flying squirrels of tropical India can grow to be 2 feet long with a 2-foot tail. There are a few species of these squirrels in North America and Europe, but most of them live in the forests of India and Asia.

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