Critter Corner - Flying
DID YOU KNOW:
Flying Squirrels cannot fly; they glide like a hang glider.
A loose flap of furred skin called the patagium extends from the
squirrel's wrist to its ankle on each side. When the
squirrel jumps off a limb, it spreads its legs and glides
downward. It uses its tail to slow down before landing.
squirrels are busy at night eating nuts, tree buds, berries,
mushrooms, moths and caterpillars. They love wormy
acorns. During fall, they gather huge amounts of food to
store for the cold winter.
Mom squirrel has two litters of babies, one in early spring and the
other in late summer. She gives birth to two to six babies
and nurses them until they can eat on their own. Around
six weeks, they are able to care for themselves. If a baby
falls from the nest, Mom squirrel picks it up by the belly and
the baby wraps its legs around Mom's neck to ride back to the
Flying squirrels live where older oak, hickory and maple trees
grow. These trees provide food and shelter. These
squirrels may live in abandoned woodpecker cavities. They
are found throughout the eastern half of the United States.
During the winter as many as 20 flying squirrels may snuggle in
one tree cavity.
large owls and tree climbing snakes prey upon flying squirrels.
These little squirrels, ten inches in length, are very alert and
have excellent eyesight. When they spot an enemy, they
scurry to the backside of a tree trunk, quickly climb the tree
and glide away.
seldom see flying squirrels because they are nocturnal. If
you have a bird feeding station and you live near a wooded area,
stock the feeder with black oil sunflower seeds and peanuts and
install a low watt night light nearby. Check the feeder
several times every night and perhaps you will see a flying
To learn more about
(Photo credits: Squirrel on
Ground, US Geological Survey; Squirrel on branch, US fish and
Wildlife Service; Squirrel in nest hole, USDA; Squirrel
flying, National Parks Service)