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Caleb Bell
Caleb Bell

How To Buy A Flying Squirrel

The Southern Flying Squirrel is found in the eastern third of the state among groves of dense deciduous forests, especially the native oak-hickory community. It is rarely seen because of its strictly nocturnal habits. They are best located at night with a flashlight around old woodpecker holes.They may breed twice a year with a litter of 2-7 young. The nest is located in a tree hollow and is lined with shredded bark and other soft plant material sufficient to insulate it against the lower winter temperatures; this squirrel does not hibernate but is the only nocturnal one in the state. Old woodpecker holes are often occupied. They share the nest with other Southern Flying Squirrels for warmth.The squirrels feed on green vegetable matter, buds, flowers, fruit, seeds, berries, mushrooms, insects, and nuts of various kinds. Nocturnal predators that prey upon this squirrel include bobcats, coyotes, foxes, snakes, and especially owls. Maximum longevity of this mammal is five years in the wild, and it can live ten years in captivity.

how to buy a flying squirrel

Description: A small tree squirrel containing a very soft, grayish-brown fur coat with a blackish undercoat (shown when hairs parted) and a white belly (hairs are white to the base). They have large black eyes and their tail is flattened. A distinctive loose fold of skin, the flying membrane, occurs on each side of the body extending from the outside of the wrist on the front leg to the ankle on the hind leg. A spur, made of cartilage, extends outward from the front wrists to support the flying membrane. There are 4 clawed toes on the front foot and 5 on the back.

Breeding information: Southern Flying Squirrels generally breed twice a year, in the late winter and mid-summer. Gestation lasts 40 days, so litters are born from March to April and from July to September. Litter sizes range from 1-6 young with an average of 3-4. The young flying squirrels nurse for about 5 weeks before they are weaned. They will remain with their mother until her next litter.

Flying Squirrels are scientifically known as Pteromyini or Petauristini and they are a tribe of 44 different species of squirrels in the family Sciuridae. However, of 44 species only two are found in North America.

Flying squirrels are found in deciduous and coniferous forests as well as woodlands. They make their homes in woodpecker holes, snags, nest boxes, abandoned nests of birds and other squirrels. In the winter season, multiple squirrels may nest together to keep warm.

Their long tails give stability in flight and also act as brakes. The anatomic difference between regular squirrels and flying squirrels is that they have long limb bones and hand and short foot bones and distal vertebrae. Their legs and tail help them while flying by allowing them to steer and exercise control over their glide path.

Predators and diseases are the reason behind the high the mortality rate in young flying squirrels. Tree snakes, raccoons, fishers, owls, martens, feral cats and bobcats are common predators of Flying Squirrels.

It is advised that you introduce them to others in your house as well and let them take the squirrels out of the cage and handle them once in a while so your flying buddy can be familiar with their scents and voice as well. Also, it is vital that you hand feed them in the initial weeks.

Habitat: Mature deciduous or mixed deciduous/coniferous forests with an abundance of various nut-producing trees.Weight: Southern flying squirrel, 1.8 to 2.5 ounces. Northern flying squirrel, 2 to 4.4 ounces.Length: Southern flying squirrel, 8 to 10 inches. Northern flying squirrel, 9.8 to 11.5 inches. Food: Acorns, nuts, seeds, berries, blossoms, mushrooms, moths, beetles, and small birds and their eggs.

Identification: Flying squirrels have soft, gray-brownfur on the back and sides, with white underparts, a flattened tail and large, dark eyesfor night vision. The northern flying squirrel is slightly darker and redder than thesouthern flying squirrel. The loose folds of skin between the front and hind legs of thesesquirrels enables them to "fly;" they actually glide through the air on thestretched surface of this loose skin.

Range: The southern flying squirrel is found fromsouthern Canada south to southern Florida, west to Minnesota and eastern Texas. Thenorthern flying squirrel is found from southeastern Alaska and northern Canada south toTennessee and west to the Pacific coast.

Reproduction: Mating occurs in late winter, and after a40-day gestation period, an average of three to four young are born. A second breedingperiod occurs in the summer. The young are born blind and helpless but develop morequickly than other squirrels. By six weeks of age, they are able to forage on their own.Tree cavities and even bird houses may be used as nesting sites. The nest may be linedwith shredded bark, leaves, moss, feathers, and other materials.

History in Connecticut: The southern squirrel is foundthroughout Connecticut, but the northern flying squirrel's range includes only the higherelevations of the northwestern part of the state. Due to their nocturnal nature, flyingsquirrels are seldom seen and, thus, their abundance is difficult to document. Thesouthern flying squirrel was considered a common resident during the early 1900s and isstill common today. The northern flying squirrel has never been very common in this state.There are no records available regarding the status in Connecticut of either squirrelprior to the 1900s.

Interesting Facts: Depending on the air current, flyingsquirrels may glide 150 feet or more from a height of 60 feet. They can turn easily atright angles while gliding and control the direction of their glide by tensing and turningtheir legs and body and flapping their tail. As a flying squirrel approaches its landing,the squirrel flips its tail up and holds its body back to slow the glide down, giving thesquirrel ample time to position its feet for grasping the tree trunk. Flying squirrelsusually land face up and often run up the tree immediately after landing.

Flying squirrels are active year-round, are highly sociable, and willfeed and den together, especially during periods of harsh weather. There are even reportsof flying squirrels denning with other animals, including screech owls and bats.

When feeding on tree nuts, they will characteristically make one openingin the shell to extract the meat. In contrast, other squirrels and chipmunks break thenuts into many pieces to obtain the meat. They store food for winter use in den trees orunderground.

Management of Problem Squirrels: Most complaints aboutflying squirrels are from homeowners with squirrels in their houses. Squirrels willreadily take up residence in a building if access is available to a sheltered area. Flyingsquirrels enter homes through small holes around dormers, ridge vents, eaves, attic vents,and similar vulnerable areas. All such holes should be closed to prevent squirrels andother animals from gaining entrance. Be sure that no squirrels are trapped inside. Adultscan cause severe damage by chewing to regain entrance to reach their young. If chewingpersists, heavy, half-inch wire mesh can be temporarily placed over the problem area.Trimming shrubs and vines and pruning overhanging tree limbs may discourage squirrels fromcausing problems in the home.

A squirrel trapped in a chimney should not be removed through thefireplace area because it might escape into the room. Instead, lower a heavy rope down thechimney to provide the means for the animal to climb out. Drop the other end of the ropeto the ground to avoid another trip to the roof to retrieve it after the squirrel hasleft.

Northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) are the only two native flying squirrel species found in North America. They are both gray-brown, but the northern flying squirrel has belly fur that is gray at the base, and for the southern flying squirrel the belly fur is all white. Size is another way to tell northern and southern flying squirrels apart. The southern species is smaller, about 8 to 10 inches in length. Northern flying squirrels are 10 to 12 inches long.

The southern flying squirrel is found throughout the eastern United States, from Maine south to Florida and west from Minnesota south to Texas. The northern flying squirrel has a much patchier distribution, but is found primarily in the Northeast, along the West Coast, and into Idaho and Montana.

Flying squirrels live in deciduous and coniferous forests and woodlands. They make their homes in snags, woodpecker holes, nest boxes, and abandoned nests of birds and other squirrels. Sometimes multiple squirrels will nest together to keep warm in the winter.

Thanks to their superb gliding abilities, flying squirrels are great escape artists. Once a flying squirrel lands on a tree trunk following a flight, it promptly scurries to the other side of the trunk to avoid any predators that may have followed it. Nevertheless, owls, hawks, tree snakes, and climbing mammals frequently manage to catch and consume these tiny rodents.

Flying squirrels are omnivores. They eat a variety of foods, including seeds, nuts, fungi, fruit, and insects. Southern flying squirrels are considered one of the most carnivorous squirrels because they supplement their diet with eggs, birds, and carrion.

The northern flying squirrel mates once a year, but the southern flying squirrel mates twice. When the young are born, they rely on their mothers to care for them for two months. Flying squirrels can live up to 10 years in captivity or about half that in the wild.

Flying squirrels are common rodents in many parts of the country, but because they are nocturnal, few people ever see them. Two subspecies of northern flying squirrel are federally listed as endangered due to habitat loss. 041b061a72


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