“Flying” Squirrels?!

Northern Flying Squirrels… Who has actually seen one of these critters in the wild here in Washington? As cute as they are, they tend to be very elusive. It’s probably because these “flying” squirrels are actually strictly nocturnal as opposed to their diurnal counterparts we see most often around the greater Seattle area. (The eastern and western gray squirrels, douglas squirrels, and the less often seen red squirrels.)

They eat a variety of things like their cousins, but these guys, specifically, tend to eat sap, fungi like mushrooms, flower buds and saplings, nuts, insects, carrion, bird eggs, and even nestlings. They don’t tend to grow very large either; only about 10 to 15 inches long, including their tail. They are dark brown in color with a light underbelly and have a flattened tail.

Contrary to what their name suggests, they do not actually fly. They have flaps of skin on either side of their body between their fore and hind limbs that, when they jump from tree limbs, allows them to use the lift of the air to glide to another tree limb. This flap of skin and muscle is known as a patagium. It works much like a built-in parachute and even helps them reduce the impact when landing on a new surface. They are excellent at maneuvering during flight, however they tend to not be so coordinated on the ground and would much rather hide than run away from danger.

Nesting behavior varies on the season and whether or not babies are involved. Mating season for the Northern Flying Squirrel is between March and May. The female with have between 2 and 5 young and wean at around 2 months old and learn to glide, or “fly” at around 3 months old. They only have one litter per year most of the time. When a mother has babies, usually she stays in one nest for a while. But, if there are no babies involved, flying squirrels are constantly changing nesting sites. They may even congregate and huddle in one nest together (in groups of 8 or more) to keep warm.

Though these small critters prefer coniferous forests they can inhabit coniferous and deciduous mixed forested areas. They range anywhere from Alaska through most parts of Canada and into the northern united states including Washington and Oregon and over to Michigan, New York, and Maine. They even venture as far as Utah and northern California.

Scientifically named Glaucomys Sabrinus, these interesting little mammals are pretty adorable, but you definitely don’t want one (or more) living in your home. If you think you might have an unwanted Northern Flying Squirrel setting up residence in your attic, give us a call! 1 (800) CRITTER

Photo courtesy of http://www.nature.co

Northern Flying Squirrels… Who has actually seen one of these critters in the wild here in Washington? As cute as they are, they tend to be very elusive. It’s probably because these “flying” squirrels are actually strictly nocturnal as opposed to their diurnal counterparts we see most often around the greater Seattle area. (The eastern and western gray squirrels, douglas squirrels, and the less often seen red squirrels.)

They eat a variety of things like their cousins, but these guys tend to prefer sap, fungi like mushrooms, flower buds and saplings, nuts, insects, carrion, bird eggs, and even nestlings. They don’t tend to grow very large either; only about 10 to 15 inches long, including their tail. They are dark brown in color with a light underbelly and have a flattened tail.

Contrary to what their name suggests, they do not actually fly. They have flaps of skin on either side of their body between their fore and hind limbs that, when they jump from tree limbs, allows them to use the lift of the air to glide to another tree limb. This flap of skin and muscle is known as a patagium. It works much like a built-in parachute and even helps them reduce the impact when landing on a new surface. They are excellent at maneuvering during flight, however they tend to not be so coordinated on the ground and would much rather hide than run away from danger.

Nesting behavior varies on the season and whether or not babies are involved. Mating season for the Northern Flying Squirrel is between March and May. The female with have between 2 and 5 young and wean at around 2 months old and learn to glide, or “fly” at around 3 months old. They only have one litter per year most of the time. When a mother has babies, usually she stays in one nest for a while. But, if there are no babies involved, flying squirrels are constantly changing nesting sites. They may even congregate and huddle in one nest together (in groups of 8 or more) to keep warm.

Though these small critters prefer coniferous forests they can inhabit coniferous and deciduous mixed forested areas. They range anywhere from Alaska through most parts of Canada and into the northern united states including Washington and Oregon and over to Michigan, New York, and Maine. They even venture as far as Utah and northern California.

Scientifically named Glaucomys Sabrinus, these interesting little mammals are pretty adorable, but you definitely don’t want one (or more) living in your home. If you think you might have an unwanted Northern Flying Squirrel setting up residence in your attic, give us a call! 1 (800) CRITTER

northern flying squirrel

Photo courtesy of http://www.nature.co

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