Around 10:30 p.m near Badsaitila Reserve Forest, Dosdewa Khasi Village, Assam, I heard an animal moving on a tree. I was later able to identify it from the photo I took, to be the Particoloured Flying Squirrel (Hylopetes alboniger).
This is a species that is found in most of the South East Asian countries. It forages at night and uses tree hollows for nesting, as well as for roosting during the day. Sometimes, it has been seen being active during the day as well. It is found in the subtropical or tropical dry forests and is not easy to see in the dense forest canopy. It is extremely active, and glides very fast between trees. Its diet includes fruits, flowers and leaves.
It is threatened by habitat loss because of road expansion, dams, jhum cultivation and expansion of agricultural lands. Here, where I photographed it, people hunt it not for consumption, but because it feeds on the stem of the betel-leaf climber (paan), which is a source of income for the locals.
Particolored Flying Squirrel belongs to the genus Hylopetes and is distributed in northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR (only in three locations), Vietnam and Cambodia (in some parts) (Duckworth et al., 2008). This species is listed under the Least Concern category by IUCN due to its relatively wide distribution in India and SE Asia and presumed large population.
Further reading: Observations on Particolored Flying Squirrel Hylopetes alboniger (Hodgson 1836) in Northeast India.
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
The Particolored Flying Squirrel is listed under the 'Least Concern' category by IUCN due to its relatively wide distribution in India and SE Asia and presumed large population.