Lesson 17 – Flying Without Wings

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Read About Flying Without Wings


Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.

To flap means to move with a beating or fluttering motion.

A fin is a thin, flat body part that fish use for swimming.

Gliding is flying without flapping wings.

Nimble means to be quick, agile, and light in motion.

A school of fish is when a large number of the same type of fish travel together.

The surface is the outside or top part of something.

Flying Without Wings

Some animals have no wings but move through the air. Flying without flapping wings is called gliding.

Flying Fish

There are different kinds of flying fish. These fish have very long, flat fins that look like wings. To fly, these fish swim very fast toward the surface of the water. Then they jump out of the water and into the air. They spread out their long, flat fins and glide through the air. Soon, they drop back down into the water.

Flying fish jump into the air and glide to escape from their enemies. Often, flying fish swim together in large groups. A group of fish that swims together is called a school. Sometimes, a whole school of flying fish jumps out of the water and glides at the same time.

Flying Squirrels

Did you know that a few kinds of squirrels can fly? These squirrels have two long, flat pieces of skin called flaps on their body. A flap goes between the front and back leg on each side of their body. To fly, a flying squirrel jumps from a high tree branch and stretches out its front and back legs. The flaps of skin let the squirrel glide through the air to another tree.

Squirrels are nimble climbers that can race up and down trees. Why do they fly to get to another tree instead of going across the ground? Enemies on the ground can attack squirrels. A flying squirrel glides from tree to tree to stay away from its enemies.

To learn more about flying squirrels, watch the video by Nat Geo WILD on Youtube.

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