The world’s cutest rodent

December 26, 2012 • 10:02 am

Okay, someone sent me this photo, and I fell in love.  It’s got to be in the pantheon of World’s Cutest Mammals, along with the giant panda and Pallas’s cat. It’s certainly the world’s cutest rodent.

Dwarf flying sqrlSource: via

It’s the Japanese dwarf flying squirrel, (Pteromys momonga), a threatened species that lives in subalpine areas in Japan. You can tell it’s nocturnal from the size of its eyes.

Of course Buzzfeed has a page: “35 photos of Momonga dwarf flying squirrels“, and I’ve chosen four to put up:


via iheartmomonga
Source of two photos above: iheartmomonga
Source: via
Source: via

And of course we must see it gliding (if you’re evolutionarily inclined, think about the incipient steps of this adaptation, since gliding squirrels evolved from non-gliding ones):


And as a special second-day-of-Koynezaa treat, here are two videos of the animal.  It’s adorable.

Moar: momonga:

Finally, if you wish to pursue the cuteness further, there’s a reddit subsection devoted to the momonga, as well as a tumblr. God bless the internet!

Feel free to add your candidate for “world’s cutest mammal” in the comments.  Links are okay, but please don’t embed videos!

45 thoughts on “The world’s cutest rodent

      1. It has a huge plus over chipmunks, nobody has made cartoons about allegedly ‘cute’ but actually insufferably irritating flying squirrels.

          1. Oh dear. A quick Google confirms you’re right. That is really something I was in (up until now) blissful ignorance of.

            Is there *any* species of furry animal that hasn’t been mercilessly anthropomorphised by the ubiquitous cartoonists of Hollywood?

              1. Hate to say it but my Google of ‘Rocky the Flying Squirrel’ revealed he was part of a duo, the other half of which was, I quote Wikipedia: “the anthropomorphic moose Bullwinkle”


  1. Okay. That’s cute.

    I thought bats were somewhat more closely related to rodents, but it seems they diverged at about the same hundred-million-years-ago date as all the other major mammalian branches. Still, I wonder if we’re perhaps witnessing a bit of convergent evolution in practice, and if, perhaps, the descendants of these squirrels dozens of millions of years hence will more resemble bats than squirrels.


      1. Oh, man…that is so unbefuckinglievably awesome!

        Jerry, you absolutely must bring that site to attention with a post. You have no free will in the matter; it is simply something you must do.

        Thanks, Lynn! You’re my hero for today.


          1. If you’re a worm.

            I caught one once, many years ago when I was waiting for the bus in the snow. Picked it up. I would NEVER pick up a naked mole rat.

              1. Gotta go with Stephen on this one. If the star-nosed mole rates 10 on a 1 to 10 scale of ugly, then the naked mole rat looks to me to rate about 257 trillion…

    1. Eusociality is abhorrent to normal human values. That’s why naked moles rats aren’t cute. It produces monsters, but it succeeds, spectacularly. There is no more clear example of moral relativism.

      Apologies for replying to my own post.

  2. My vote for “World’s Cutest Mammal”–I’ve actually got three. My wife and my two daughters.

    All together now, “awwwwww…”

    1. I have two daughters and I saw both born. Newborns aren’t cute, at least not those two, not to me. Maybe to their mom, but I’m doubtful of that. They BECAME cute, and it didn’t take long.

      1. Wasn’t there a poll a few months ago where pictures of kittehs way outranked pics of human babies in cuteness. (IIRC even puppies outscored the babies).

        Thing is, babies are doubtless cute to their own parents, but then I’m sure so is a baby wolverine…

    1. Well, quite obviously the eyes come from Japanese manga. (Or did the eyes of manga characters come from the flying squirrel? Has to be one or the other 😉 )

  3. Hey, I got your cute right here: the Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans) & Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) are very common in North America. The southern one is more common east of the Mississippi River than either the red or gray squirrel species!
    North American flying squirrels weigh two-three ounces each. In addition to being cute & tiny, they are nocturnal & arboreal… that’s why we almost never see them. But they are just about “everywhere” where there is forest in the US and Canada.
    And, only discovered in the 1970s, the flying squirrel is not only very social, but lives in a matriarchal society. The same New Jersey professor who found this out, also confirmed the same social structure in an arboreal species in Central America.
    [My disclaimer here: I was managing a series of preserves owned by The Nature Conservancy back then and one of them had a research grid for this study, but I haven’t thought about it since then… so there is likely much more known about this nowadays. One ‘interesting’ thing, flying squirrels must be handled with very thick leather gloves or they will eat your fingers.]

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