Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Scaly-Tailed Squirrels: Anomaluridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Lord Derby's Anomalure (anomalurus Derbianus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SCALY-TAILED SQUIRRELS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Scaly-Tailed Squirrels: Anomaluridae - Physical Characteristics

membrane legs glide help

The scaly-tailed squirrels range in size from 7.3 to 18.5 inches (18.5 to 46 centimeters) along their head and bodies, with tail length measuring between 5.4 and 18.4 inches (13.8 to 45 centimeters). They generally weigh between 7 ounces and 4 pounds (200 to 1,800 grams). The family Anomaluridae (from words meaning "strange-tailed") look very much like regular squirrels (family Sciuridae) from the outside because they have adapted to similar environments, but major differences in their skulls, teeth, and other internal items show that they have no close relationship. Scaly-tailed squirrels, unlike regular tree squirrels, have a furred "gliding membrane" on each side of their bodies that stretches in a square shape between the front legs and the back legs and also between the hind legs and the tail. Only one genus, the mainly diurnal (active during the day) Zenkerella, lacks this membrane and cannot glide. The membrane is supported in front by a strut-like, rigid section of cartilage that extends from the elbow joint, rather than from the wrist, as in the true flying squirrels. They are the only gliding mammals in Africa. Scaly-tailed squirrels are so named because of the double rows of overlapping, spiky scales on the underside of the tails for one-third of its length along the base. When the animals land after a glide, the scales help to keep them from skidding on tree trunks, and also help them climb up trees. Their silky tails are bushy on top and have strongly colored tufts. They have strong digits for manipulating food and climbing, and very long whiskers and large ears for their mainly nocturnal activity. Their heads are large and placed forward on the face, providing excellent binocular vision for finding prey and good landing places.

Scaly-Tailed Squirrels: Anomaluridae - Behavior And Reproduction [next]

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about 6 years ago

so cute