An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com

Flying Squirrels

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We have two species of flying squirrels in most of New England, the Southern (Glaucomys volans) and Northern (Glaucomys sabrinus), which is larger and usually more brownish than its cousin.  One could deduce that these gentle rodents are nocturnal just by looking at the size of their luminous eyes.  Because they feed at night, we don’t set eyes on them very often, except for an occasional lucky glance at the bird feeder before heading to bed. If we did observe them more often, we would marvel at their stretching their legs out, extending a flap of skin that runs from their front legs to their hind legs, and effortlessly soaring from one tree to another — as far as 150 feet horizontally from a height of 60 feet.  One documented sighting that I would love to observe is a female carrying young while gliding!

5 responses

  1. Oh, the cuteness!

    February 15, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  2. Meade Cadot

    Back in the 1970’s we rescued a baby Southern the rest of whose family ended with a cat…

    ‘Thoroughly enjoyed raising “Amelia Earhardt” who then lived on with us for 5 years; very entertaining for us and company. Favorite foods pecans and dead moths!

    February 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm

  3. Pat Nelson

    Last April we cut down a tree in my woods that had been broken and leaning on some others. While taking a break afterwards, we noticed a flying squirrel clinging to the base of a large hemlock nearby and then circling it as if looking for something. It then climbed up about 3′ and made a short leap/glide onto a tall rock directly opposite us and sat there peering straight at us for a short while, as if saying, “Dude, where’s my tree?” Then it climbed about 20′ up a nearby tree and as we watched, transfixed, it extended the fold of skin between its front and back legs and glided another 20+ feet to a nearby snag and landed right at an entrance hole and instantly vanished. Our guess is that the tree we took down was its customary route to a launch pad — or possibly even served as a secondary hideout because there was a hole into a hollow center in it too. We were happy to see where the squirrel went. It’s as if it wanted us to be sure to know to leave the snag standing!

    February 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    • How I would love to experience something like that! A rare treat! Thank you for writing and describing its behavior!

      February 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm

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