You may be surprised to learn that the only mammals that fly are bats. With so many different types of mammals on the planet, it would seem like the skies would be filled with them. As it turns out, however, bats are the only mammals that are capable of flying under their own power.
Much like birds, bats have wings that extend out from their body. When they flap their wings, they can fly through the air, go higher, dip lower, and make sweeping turns. Other mammals are incapable of this type of flight.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t see other types of mammals in the air. There are a number of different mammals that are capable of gliding. Although these mammals don’t have wings and can’t fly under their own power, they can glide for relatively long distances through the air.
Flying squirrels are one of the most well-known examples of a gliding mammal. These squirrels have flaps of skin that go from their wrists to their ankles. They can glide over relatively long distances by putting their arms and legs out to the side to stretch out these flaps of skin.
The flaps then act somewhat like a parachute, catching the air underneath them and allowing the squirrel to glide through the air. You can see these squirrels gliding between the treetops in the forest. Although this technique is not the same as flying, it is a pretty amazing sight to see.
Sugar gliders are another type of mammal that can glide through the air. These tiny possums get their name thanks to their love of sugar and their ability to glide through the air. They are small enough to fit in a shirt pocket and are usually quite friendly, which is why so many people keep them as pets.
Because sugar gliders are considered to be exotic pets, they are not allowed in some locations. For instance, states like California, Alaska, and Hawaii don’t allow people to keep sugar gliders as pets. If you are interested in adopting one of these cute little creatures, you will need to check the laws in your local area. You also need to make sure that the sugar glider you choose comes from a reputable source since many are taken from their natural habitats illegally.
As you can see, there are not very many mammals that fly. In fact, the only mammals that are truly capable of flight are bats. These fascinating creatures have wings that are similar to those that are found on birds. Not all bats have the same flying capabilities, either. For instance, some bats don’t have wings that are large enough to allow them to take off from the ground. Instead, they can only achieve flight when they drop from a high distance such as the top of a cave or a tree.
Interestingly, many types of bats are also capable of walking on the ground. Having the ability to both walk and fly allows them to hunt much more effectively.