Flying Squirrels and The Animals that Fall With Style

published on July 2, 2020

hi I'm Daniel Defoe and you're watching

Animalia logic second nature I can't in

please place your 30 Weinman for Salt

Lake City Denver and New York is now

boarding at gate number 7 living in

trees can provide access to food and

protection from predators

unfortunately for animals I can't fly it

can be very difficult to get around some

use branch highways to travel others

launch themselves with reckless abandon

and others have to go the long way and

climb down and up trees but a very

select group of animals have developed

ways to seemingly fly without wings

these are nature's gliders

[Music]

you can run but you can't glide

gliding is traveling through the sky

without a power source some birds can

fly to the sky and glide for days but

gliding is a little more complicated for

mammals adapting motorboat on a speedy

glider and this time it's victory some

nerve you say and we do do bats are the

only truly flying mammals they have a

membrane called a potassium which

connects their fingers to their bodies

to create wings other mammals have less

developed potassium

they're kind of adorable but they don't

get nearly the same airtime as bats

flying squirrels are maybe the cutest

and best known gliding mammals there are

about 50 species all over the world

including three species in North America

[Music]

20 million years ago

their ancestors originated from tree

squirrels since then they have become

expert gliders with most species able to

glide for up to 90 metres their tail is

used to steer and balance themselves in

midair flying squirrels currently hold

the record for longest glides among

terrestrial animals at about 200 metres

when they land they tilt their body up

so that they land with all four of their

legs simultaneously this helps them

distribute the force of the impact

evenly preventing injury other gliding

mammals such as the colugo had cool

features like webbed hands to help their

Pattaya but some gliders are so

efficient at it that they're simply

called gliders

smokejumping looks easy doesn't it the

graceful way the jumper seems to glide

to earth but how would you like to climb

out of a plane and land in timber

[Music]

gliders are found across eastern

Australia and New Guinea there are eight

species with overlapping ranges

different species specialize in

different types of trees and forests the

sugar glider for instance is very small

and agile it can glide between branchy

trees with such grace that it's also

known as the Rope dancer the trade-off

is that they can't glide for very long

distances as their Pattaya are very

small in the air

they look like parachuting ballerinas

but unfortunately their landings are not

always smooth the glider force is coming

in for a landing are always likely to

make anybody's heart skip a beat gliding

is not only found in mammals the genus

with the coolest name in the world Draco

lizards or flying dragons are known to

glide over 60 meters which is amazing

for an animal smaller than a cell phone

Draco's have colorful potassium and an

extra flap of skin under their throats

that acts as a stabilizing rudder their

long glides help them ambush insects on

nearby trees like flying squirrels they

use their tail to steer themselves for

increased hunting accuracy in classic

Nature fashion their Pattaya have

another use their mating and warning

displays if you're a Draco and see

another Draco showing you his potassium

it means he either likes you or would

like you to leave classic boys and their

mixed messages and their predators the

venomous Chris Opilio snakes also known

as flying snakes that's right the flying

lizards are predated upon by flying

snakes unlike other animals in this

episode flying snakes don't have any

specialized appendages to glide

to move from tree to tree they jump off

a branch and make themselves wider by

flattening their rib cages by doing this

they can make themselves twice as wide

as normal then they move in an

undulating motion to create a pseudo

disc they don't spin like a frisbee but

the constant undulation creates the

right aerodynamic conditions for gliding

fortunately for us they're relatively

tiny at about one meter and eat small

prey and their venom seems to be

harmless to humans

moving on to even more unusual gliders

we have an animal that's born in water

spends its life on land and can glide

for long distances the flying frog many

frog species have webbed feet which they

use to swim when necessary but some of

those species have independently adapted

for life in trees and have repurposed

their foot webbing as tiny parachutes

the coolest one of them is probably

Wallace's flying frog they're one of the

largest flying frogs and their feet have

evolved to be cartoonishly big in case

of a predator emergency they jump off

their tree though not as accomplished as

other gliders they can still glide up to

50 metres forever in the jungles of

Indonesia watch out for parachuting

frogs falling on your head they might

give you a concussion finally we go to

the ocean where we find some of the most

unlikely gliders flying fish flying fish

have been around since before dinosaurs

roamed the earth today there are about

60 species they're not closely related

to the earliest flying fish but share

their two most important features they

have strong spines to keep them rigid

while gliding and modified pectoral fins

that act as wings

to glide flying fish get a swimming

start and leap out of the water

opening their pectoral fins at the right

moment to generate lift this technique

allows them to glide for over 50 metres

though under the right conditions they

can glide for hundreds of metres reach

heights of over 6 meters and be airborne

for over 40 seconds a nice respite from

predators it's a bit of a bizarre

strategy but you know what they say

there's no such thing as a flying

dolphin yet flight 631 and for Salt Lake

City Denver and New York is now boarding

at 8 number 7 board flight 631 gliders

are an amazing example of animals using

physics to increase their fitness it's a

skill all of us could use today's

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thanks for watching see ya

[Music]

um Mike my cat is um she's grabbing my

butt from the other side of this curtain

and she's got her her paws up and she's

trying to climb up on dance what are you

doing you mad cat you mad cat okay

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