Nature

These Tiny “Pokémon” Squirrels Live On Remote Islands Near Japan

Regardless of how hard you wish, Pokémon aren’t real. However, here’s the next best thing: Japanese dwarf flying squirrels.

These incredible creatures can only be found on Honshu and Kyushu islands, remote locations in Japan. While there are around 50 different species of flying squirrels all around the world, these ones – known officially as Pteromys momonga – are one of only two ‘Old World’ species.

They’re rather small, measuring out at between 14 and 20 centimetres and weighing between 150-220g. Also, while other many other flying squirrels have one mating cycle per year, the Japanese dwarf flying squirrel has two.

They’re incredible cartoonish, ‘extremely small and fluffy’, and while its name would suggest they can soar across the skies like a bat or bird, it’s not strictly true.

Animalia explains, ‘Instead, it glides with a membrane, stretching from its forelimbs to hind limbs and covered with fur. The Japanese dwarf flying squirrel is known to glide long distances of up to 100 metres at a time, using this ability to move between trees or escape predators.’

When they’re not jumping around the forest or snoozing in their nests, they munch on ‘nuts, pine seeds, the buds and bark of certain trees, fruits, and probably some insects’.

In a video showing one of the squirrels in action, one user wrote, ‘It’s so cute I wish I could cuddle and protect all of them!’ Another wrote on Twitter, ‘Japanese dwarf flying squirrels!!! Literally don’t even look real they’re so cute.’

It’s quite the trek to see some cute animals – but then again, is there a better reason to travel?