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Lesson 10 – Furred and Finned Fliers

Read About Furred and Finned Fliers


Can you find where all the definitions are in the text?


A glider is an animal or bird with the ability to float on rising warm air currents or to travel by using wings without flapping them.


A membrane is thin flexible tissue that separates or connects regions, structures, or organs of a living organism.


Gliding means to travel or fly by using wings without flapping them.


Thrust is the power or force that overcomes drag and weight to move an object forward.


Propel means to push or move something in a certain direction, often with a lot of force.


Expelling means pushing something out forcefully.

Air Currents

Air currents are areas of a lot of wind that are mainly caused by different areas of air pressure or different temperatures.


A flying squirrel can not really fly, but it is an excellent glider. It can coast farther than the length of three hockey rinks! First, a flying squirrel opens up a flap of furry skin that stretches from each wrist to each ankle. Then it glides with its body spread out. Its tail is puffed out so it works like a parachute.


When a flying lizard unfurls its wings, it is easy to see the ribs that support the wings. The ribs and attached membrane spread out to form a semicircle on each side of the lizard’s body. When these wings are not in use, they fold back against the animal’s sides.


Flying fish cover long distances by making a series of glides through the air. At the end of each glide, a flying fish dips its tail into the water. This action produces new forward thrust. Flying squid propel themselves out of the water by expelling water. These creatures usually glide through the air only when they need to escape predators.

Other Fliers

It is not only animals that use wings and air currents to get around. Dandelion seeds use their fluff like a parachute to float to new environments. Maple keys spin through the air like a helicopter or fall slowly. This helps them move away from the tree where they were produced.

Now Show What You Know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.