Are you finding that the amount of seed in your bird feeders drops precipitously after dark? Those of us in black bear country are advised to bring feeders in at night so as not to attract bears, but occasionally several hours of darkness have passed before I remember to do so. When that happens, the feeders inevitably need filling. What stealthy critter is visiting once the sun goes down? Very possibly, flying squirrels are the culprits. These nocturnal rodents can glide as far as 295 feet from tree to tree, or tree to ground. They stretch their legs out and direct their glide by controlling the position of the flap of skin (patagium) that extends from the outside of the wrist on the front leg to the ankle of the hind leg on both sides of their body. Their broad, flattened tail acts as a parachute, rudder, stabilizer and brake during the glide. Feeders are rarely far enough from a tree to necessitate a glide – a short leap does the trick. If you feed birds, try shining a light on your feeders after the sun goes down. You may very well be treated to the sight of several flying squirrels helping themselves to your sunflower seeds and suet.
November 1, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Animal Adaptations, Animal Signs, Flying Squirrels, Mammals, Nocturnal Animals, November, Rodents, Squirrels | Tags: Glaucomys sabrinus, Glaucomys volans, Northern Flying Squirrel, Southern Flying Squirrel | 5 Comments
During the winter flying squirrels often huddle together in large communal nests, sometimes with populations numbering over two dozen squirrels, in an effort to keep warm. Two years ago 22 of these nocturnal creatures spent the majority of the winter in my log cabin, doing just that. Although flying squirrels do not hibernate, if temperatures become too severe the squirrels will enter a state of torpor until temperatures return to normal.
February 23, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Animal Adaptations, February, Mammals, Rodents, Winter Adaptations | Tags: Flying Squirrels, Glaucomys sabrinus, Glaucomys volans, Northern Flying Squirrel, Rodents, Southern Flying Squirrel, Squirrels, Winter Adaptations, Winter Survival | 13 Comments
February 15, 2012 | Categories: Adaptations, Animal Adaptations, February, Mammals, Nocturnal Animals, Rodents | Tags: Flying Squirrels, Glaucomys sabrinus, Glaucomys volans, Nocturnal Animals, Northern Flying Squirrel, Southern Flying Squirrel | 5 Comments