Red-Cheeked Flying Squirrel (Hylopetes spadiceus)




HB: 134, Tail: 116, HF: 24

The back and head are bright orange brown with black under fur. The upper side of the gliding membrane is black. The tail is distinctively flattened; it is blackish with a buffy or orange brown base and white tipped. The feet are fulvous brown and the underparts are creamy white. The cheeks are greyish, often with an orange tinge. There is a pale patch behind the ear.

Habitat and Ecology

The attractive Red-Cheeked Flying Squirrel inhabits a variety of forest types, but is more commonly found in tall, lowland primary rainforest. Their nesting holes are generally located towards the base of medium-sized trees : the squirrels appear to excavate their own nesting holes or inhabit holes made by other species, rather than inhabit natural tree holes. Reportedly, they have also been found nesting inside coconuts.  By day the entrance to the nesting hole is plugged with dry grass or other vegetation : this is removed at dusk when the squirrels emerge and quietly ascend to the canopy before feeding. The nest can be as little as one metre from the ground. The usually have two young. Adams(1958) reported one as ascending from about one metre during a six metre flight by flapping; this is a case of a flying squirrel flying as apposed to merely gliding.


The species is wide-ranging, occurring in Burma, Thailand, southern Indochina, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. These squirrels are known from primary forests, degraded secondary forest and scrub, and cultivated areas up to 1,500 m.

Scientific interest and potential value:

So little is known of these secretive creatures that the scope of scientific study on them is very great.

Major Threat(s):

The habitat of this species is being deforested for timber, firewood and conversion to agricultural land.