The Anomaluridae are a family of rodents found in central Africa.[2] They are known as anomalures or scaly-tailed squirrels. The seven extant species are classified into three genera. Most are brightly coloured.

Temporal range: Late Eocene–Recent
Aethurus glirinus.jpg
Zenkerella insignis, the Cameroon scaly-tail
Artist: Joseph Smit, 1898
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Anomaluromorpha
Family: Anomaluridae
Gervais in d'Orbigny, 1849


All anomalurids but the single species in the genus Zenkerella have membranes between their front and hind legs like those of a flying squirrel, but they are not closely related to the flying squirrels that form the tribe Petauristini of the family Sciuridae. They are distinguished by two rows of pointed, raised scales on the undersides of their tails.[3] The anatomy of their heads is quite different from that of the sciurid flying squirrels.

Most anomalurid species roost during the day in hollow trees, with up to several dozen animals per tree. They are primarily herbivorous, and may travel up to 6 km (3.7 mi) from their roosting tree in search of leaves, flowers, or fruit, although they also eat a small amount of insects. They give birth to litters up to three young, which are born already furred and active.[3]

Anomalurids represent one of several independent evolutions of gliding ability in mammals, having evolved from climbing animals.[4] The others include the true flying squirrels of Eurasia and North America, colugos or flying lemurs of Southeast Asia, and the marsupial gliding possums of Australia.



  1. ^ Sallam, Hesham M; Seiffert, Erik R.; Simons, Elwyn L., Brindley, Chloe. A Large-bodied Anomaluroid rodent from the earliest late Eocene of Egypt: Phylogenetic and biogeographic implications. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(5):1579–1593, September 2010.
  2. ^ Dieterlen, F. (2005). "Family Anomaluridae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 1533. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ a b Fleming, Theodore (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 632. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
  4. ^ Fabre, Pierre‐Henri; Tilak, Marie-Ka; et al. (June 2018). "Flightless scaly‐tailed squirrels never learned how to fly: a reappraisal of Anomaluridae phylogeny". Zoologica Scripta. 47 (4): 404–417. doi:10.1111/zsc.12286.