A mysterious picture in Facebook captured public attention. “It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” Facebook users exclaimed.
This mystery creature has been kicking around Facebook for quite some time now, with users trying to figure out just what it is. It’s a bit freaky — but, it turns out, what you’re seeing is not only weird but the sign of some some awesome adaptations that let this use the air like other animals use the ground, the water, or trees.
Take a look at the mystery beast that’s been shared around social media:
That looks like the baby dragon that had to be taken away from Rubius Hagrid by Hogwart’s officials during “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” However, as it so happens, it’s a creature that lives among us muggles — namely, the colugo, a class of lemur that inhabits Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
“With such a beautifully evolved body, the colugo, also known misleadingly as a flying lemur … spends its nights leisurely gliding through the forests of Southeast Asia,” a Wired article on the colugo reads.
“Their skeletons, while not nearly as frail as those of bats, are thinner and more elongated than that of a squirrel, reducing their weight while increasing their surface area. And their huge eyes … gives them not only good night vision, but excellent depth perception — no insignificant advantage when you’re coming in for a hard landing on the trunk of a tree.”
Wired notes that the animals “are such adept gliders that mothers have no problem bringing their babies along for the ride. And they’ll do so for quite some time, for their young are born highly underdeveloped.”
The colugo doesn’t actually fly — it glides. It isn’t capable of powered flight, but it can climb up trees and glide down. In fact, it glides better than most gliding animals, like flying squirrels or sugar gliders.
Nature is full of miracles, of course. But this one is pretty darn awesome.