Northern Flying Squirrel
Look behind me! It’s not a bird, plane, or superman. It’s a flying squirrel. That’s right. An animal who gets into bird territory, sailing over treetops with style. I’m in North America, and I came across this fascinating mammal while taking a stroll through the forest.
How do Flying Squirrels Fly?
Wanna know something interesting? Flying squirrels don’t actually “fly”. They glide. A membrane stretched from wrist to ankle (called patagia) turns this squirrel into a living, breathing paper-plane replica. And unlike regular bushy squirrel tails, their tails are large and flat, and are used as a rudder when they fly. Wondering why they are still called flying squirrels? Because it sounds so much cooler! There are around 50 different species of flying squirrel all over the world! They live in deciduous, coniferous or mixed type of forests.
8 Fun Flying Squirrel Facts
- Flying squirrels are usually around 12 inches in length (including their tail), and are furry all over.
- They are primarily nocturnal, with large, bulging eyes that let them see in the dark.
- They’re also omnivores, which means, they eat meat as well as vegetation. Their diet includes fruits, berries, nuts and flowers as well as snails, mice, eggs and small birds.
- Although they don’t hibernate, they do slow down their activities in winter, and so they make sure they collect enough food to tide them over in winter.
- In fact, flying squirrels are so hardworking that they can collect up to 15000 nuts in a season!
- Flying squirrels are highly social animals.
- They live in holes in trees, and sometimes share their dens with other animals such as bats and screech owls. But they do have their share of predators too, such as raccoons, coyotes, foxes, big birds, snakes and even cats and dogs.
- Gliding is like a built-in insurance policy for them. It helps them get out of reach of these predators. And I’m sure it makes for a fun way to get around. I wish I could glide around!
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