Critter Of The Week #1 : Colugo

After you have learned about our Critter Of The Week each day, this is what you will receive at the end of each week (on Saturdays) when you download the app. Here is a profile page of our first critter, the colugo!

 

Colugo Gliding With Baby

Can you spot the tiny baby clinging to its mother?

Scientific Classification

Kingdom : Animalia

Phylum : Chordata

Class : Mammalia                 

Order : Dermoptera

Family : Cynocephalidae

 

Colugo Hanging  

 A young Sunda Colugo waking up from a nap.

Conservation Status : 

Colugo Conservation Status

"Least concern" means their population has been counted, but they are not in imminent danger of extinction. That's good news for now! 

Number of Different Species : 2

Philippine Colugo : Cynocephalus volans

Philippine Colugo

Sunda Colugo :  Galeopterus variegatus

Its fur is colored like the lichens found on tree bark for extra camouflage.

Subspecies :

The Malay Colugo : Galeopterus variegatus peninsulae

The Bornean Colugo : Galeopterus variegatus borneanus

 

Distribution

 

Colugo Distribution Map

Habitat : 

Colugo Rainforest

Colugos live primarily in the tropical rainforest canopy. As mentioned before, when you look at their coat, it is designed to look like lichens growing on tree trunks. This provides the perfect cover for them during their daytime slumbers. They usually sleep in hollows of trees. 

 Anatomy :

One glance at this enigmatic creature and it's obvious there's nothing quite like it. Being the largest gliding animal on earth, it has evolved some pretty amazing features that make it a king of the canopy. 

Colugo Skeleton

Long arms give them the ability to glide 250 feet or more with little loss in altitude. They also have adapted sharp claws to latch onto and cling to trees which can be clearly seen above. The same adaptations that make them right at home in the air, makes moving around on the ground a bit of a challenge. They move in short hops and climb trees in the same sort of jumping manner. 

Colugo gliding

The "patagium" is as large as geometrically possible, and covers the colugo from the sides of it head to the tip of its tail. When it glides, it only has a 5 degree angle of descent, and loses very little altitude in the air. The longest recorded glide was almost 500 feet. That is more than an entire football field!  Imagine how fun it would be if you could glide like this?

Colugo and Flying Squirrel Skull

The colugo is adapted for a 100% herbivorous diet consisting mostly of young leaves and shoots high in the trees. Unlike flying squirrels, which have continuously growing front incisors (front teeth) used to gnaw hard-shelled nuts and seeds, the colugo has specially adapted incisors for a completely different function. In fact, they are designed like tiny combs used for grooming!

Check out the video below to see a colugo grooming herself and putting her specialized teeth into action.