The world’s cutest rodent

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: tinadot.files.wordpress.com via reddit.com

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:

enhanced-buzz-14653-1333301027-21

via iheartmomonga

Source of two photos above: iheartmomonga

Source: i.imgur.com via reddit.com

Source: i.imgur.com via reddit.com

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!

43 Comments

  1. Sarah
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Yes, very nice, but what about chipmunks?

    • worried secularist
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Yes, hard to beat a chipmunk for adorabileness, but these tiny squirrels are right up there.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

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

        • Posted December 29, 2012 at 1:55 am | Permalink

          Four words: Rocky the Flying Squirrel. Very irritating if your name is Boris or Natasha.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

            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?

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

              Not the moose.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted January 1, 2013 at 12:44 am | Permalink

                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”
                :)

  2. Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Its eyes are stupendous.

  3. Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    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.

    b&

    • Posted December 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      For a cool tree of life that graphically shows times of divergence, go here: http://www.onezoom.org/
      I highly recommend watching the intro video and the tutorial.

      • Posted December 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        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.

        b&

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes, that’s brilliant. Thanks for the link.

      • marycanada FCD
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the link

      • Marella
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Amazing!

  4. Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Adorable!

  5. lizwinfreyventura
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Awww, I want!

  6. Bill Turner
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    You have to see this…

    Sent from my iPad

  7. Veroxitatis
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I think the prairie dog is cute. Here’s a vid:-

    I couldn’t photoshop out the dog, but assuming you like prairie dogs Jerry you’ve got 3 out of 4. Can’t be bad!

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Apologies didn’t intend to embed.

  8. Posted December 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    My duaghter has stuffed animals that look like this guy. The eyes are so cute.

  9. emydoidea
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Flying squirrels of all species are terrifyingly cute rodents, but I think jerboas take the cake.

  10. Stephen Barnard
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    The naked mole rat is cetainly the LEAST cute rodent, and likely the least cute mammal, and possibly the least cute metazoan. http://academic.reed.edu/biology/professors/srenn/pages/teaching/web_2010/qaic_site/phylogeny.html

    • Posted December 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I dunno. The star-nosed mole is pretty damned fugly, too.

      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/02/0202_050202_mole.html

      b&

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        You must be joking. They have fur and their skin isn’t transparent.

        • Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          True…but that face! It’s the stuff of alien monster movies.

          b&

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            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.

            • Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

              Doubt I’d touch either….

              b&

              • Mark Joseph
                Posted December 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

                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…

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      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.

  11. marycanada FCD
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Definitely falls under the category of cutie

  12. Mark Joseph
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

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

    All together now, “awwwwww…”

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted December 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        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…

        • AK
          Posted December 27, 2012 at 2:27 am | Permalink

          Come on, given the choice between this little fella and a wrinkled crying redfaced human? ;)

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 31, 2012 at 4:39 am | Permalink

            Aww, yeah, point conceded. A baby wolverine is cuter than a human baby. ;)

  13. Marella
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Extremely cute.

  14. Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Too adorable for words!

  15. Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    The cutest is right here, although I’m not sure it’s a rodent.

    Smallest monkey in the world:

    http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/ecology/smallest-monkeys-world/6909

    • Marta
      Posted December 27, 2012 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      That was . . . astonishing!

  16. AK
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    This animal had to evolve in Japan…

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      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 ;) )

  17. SnowyOwl
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    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.]

  18. Posted December 28, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    This is amazingly adorable! A pity its a threatened species!


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