Galeopterus variegatus, also known as Sunda Colugo and the Malayan Flying Lemur. Recent DNA studies have revealed colugos to be relatives of primates. They are secretive nocturnal animals, silent efficient gliders and feed on young leaves of trees. Young ones are born very immature like marsupials and stay very close to mother in an unsealed pouch formed by the folding of the mother’s patagium. Colugos are sometimes confused with flying squirrels. Colugos have skin membranes joined to cheeks, fore and hind limbs and the total length of the tail. Flying squirrels have skin membranes that are joined to fore and hind limbs.
The eyes face the front indicating 3D vision is deployed in the dark. All these features may have helped fan folklores of the spooky kind to the uninitiated.
Sim Chip Chye of BICA shared a photo showing the intimacy shared between mother and baby. A second photo shows the positions of mother and baby while baby took a leak and the cleaning baby received. Below the photos is Sim Chip Chye’s description of the events captured in the photos.
I had a very interesting encounter with a parent Colugo and its offspring! I have had quite a few encounters prior and they were all vertically clung on a tree’s trunk; but this late afternoon’s encounter saw the young Colugo being cradled much like in a hammock by its mother! The two were sharing some very close moments with both the young and the parent licking each other continuously for quite some time. Suddenly, the mummy released both her forelimbs to hang upside down and the juvenile was clinging on to mummy’s tummy with its forelimbs! I thought it might fall and before long, the juvenile folded its rear patagium and for the first time, I can see the tail bone of a colugo! Its external genitourinary organ was revealed and it started to urinate…. and mummy was there to make sure junior did not wet any part of its membrane… it licked its groin clean and occasionally was observed to lick some urine too! When junior was done, mummy stretched her forelimbs onto the branch and junior was in her cradle again!
Recorded at Hindhede Nature Park on 10 August 2021 just before 1700 hrs
Sim Chip Chye
This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behaviour through photography and videography to a wider audience.