Most birds and some insects fly, but there are some species you wouldnât even expect that can glide through the air. Flying animals are cool and this article uncovers facts and pictures of some of the coolest
Â 1 - Flying squirrel
Â Top of the list is of course the flying squirrel, most people have heard of a squirrel that glides but did you know there are over 40 species of flying squirrel.
These creatures can glide up to 90 metres in some cases and they use their tail to help brake before landing. They have a fluffy membrane along their body stretching from wrist to ankle on each side that acts as a glider.
Â 2 â Flying fish
Again a lot of people will have heard of a flying fish but whatâs interesting about this animal is that it flies above the surface of the water to escape predators and can reach distances of 400 metres and speeds of 70 km per hour using updrafts created by air currents off the ocean.
The longest recorded flight is 45 seconds â see YouTube video below.
Â 3 â Paradise tree snake
Yes believe it or not this species of snake from Asia can glide through the air by stretching its body into a fan shape and wriggling, reaching distances of up to 100metres depending of course how high up it is.
Â 4 â Flying Frog
These frogs can glide through a combination of large webbing between their toes and a low body weight. Some can only parachute however.
Â 5 â Gliding ant
I know, big deal, a lot of ants have wings. This one doesnât however and can glide to safety when dropped from a height and return to the trunk of the tree it fell from.
6 â Parachuting spider
This spider demonstrates ballooning behaviour by using silk to catch the air and control descent.
After climbing as high as possible, the spider will stand on its hind legs and begin to release silk threads from its body into the air forming a parachute. This parachute is caught by the wind and the spider is carried off. Depending on the wind the spider can potentially be carried high up into the sky.
Â 7 â Red Flying squid
These and other types of squid can shoot out of the water to escape predators and can cover up to 50 metres. These amazing creatures produce thrust by expelling water out of their funnels whilst airborne.
Sorry, couldnât find a YouTube video.
Â 8 â Draco Lizard
My favourite of the lot, this lizard from Southeast Asia has ribs that attach to membranes at the side of their bodies creating a wing which allows them to glide for up to 60 metres.
Flying squirrel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZgcBUx0Vwg
Flying fish - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmWRCdUw17E
Paradise tree snake - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXAoMiWfk78
Flying frog - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQndkNvgAHQ
Gliding ant - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcw37Bg7vn8
Parachuting spider - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYI67g8YRUo
Draco Lizard - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxSGpCOtkSc