Animals, such as birds, insects, and bats, have the ability to fly because they have wings as a means of movement. Even so, there are also some other animals that do not have wings but are able to glide or jump through the air with a certain height and distance so that they appear to be really flying.
However, what are some wingless animals that have the ability to glide through the air? Let us discuss one by one the animals with this unique ability.
These tree-dwelling mammals are often called flying lemurs, although lemurs are not true lemurs and do not fly. According to the Wired page, this mammal belonging to the genus Cynocephalus comes from Southeast Asia and has a body the size of a domestic cat. The lemur can glide up to 61 meters between the trees using the folds of skin between its front and hind legs that extend down its tail and neck, known as a patagium. In the wild, lemurs can soar gracefully between the trees, making them look like lemurs flying without wings.
The Snake Chrysopelea paradisi
According to the Journal of Experimental Biology, the Chrysopelea snake paradisi lives in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. This snake can slide from the top of the tree by flattening its body outward to maximize its surface area and swaying from side to side in the desired direction. Even though the snake’s ability to fly sounds creepy, actually the Chrysopelea snake paradisi is harmless to humans.
There are dozens of species of flying squirrels in the subfamily Sciurinae and they are native to North America and Eurasia. When jumping from a tall tree, the flying squirrel will spread its patagium so that it resembles a kite or parachute.
Flying squirrels are also able to steer by moving their wrists and adjusting the firmness of their skin. Flying squirrels also have tails that function as directive organs, which allow them to change their flight direction in the air
These fish actually do not fly very often because they have to jump or slide out of the water with a strong pectoral fin push. There are about forty species of flying fish in the Exocoetidae family and most of the species live in tropical waters. This fish can jump around for 45 seconds and as far as 200 meters. This fish habit of jumping into the air is thought to avoid predators.
Summarized from the National Geographic page, the process of flying or gliding begins by increasing the speed of moving underwater, around 59.5 km per hour. Then, tilted upwards, the flying fish with all four wings breaks the surface of the water and begins to glide by rapidly wagging its tail while still below the surface.
When in the air, sometimes fish can jump to a height of more than 1.2 meters and slide as far as 200 meters. After approaching the surface again, the flying fish can flap their tails and glide again without fully returning to the water. Thanks to this ability, flying fish are able to continue gliding in succession up to a distance of 400 meters.
Giant Devil Ray
Giant devil rays are stingrays that have long, wing-like fins that allow them to swim and jump in the sea. Giant devil ray is a member of the genus Mobula. The stingray is known for its ability to jump high above the water, according to the Oceana website.
All giant devil rays have a black, crescent-shaped stripe that extends from shoulder to shoulder, which distinguishes them from manta rays which have a similar appearance. Adult giant ray devils have a body measuring 1.8-2.7 meters, but can continue to grow up to 5.2 meters. Even though it seems that these animals have the ability to fly, they don’t actually fly. They glided high and far in the air. Even so, this animal’s ability to jump high in the air is still worthy of admiration.