What Are Some Facts About the Flying Squirrel?


Quick Answer

The scientific name for the northern flying squirrel is Glaucomys sabrinus, and the scientific name for the southern flying squirrel is Glaucomys volans. Contrary to common belief, flying squirrels are incapable of flying long distances. As opposed to wings, the squirrels have a membrane attached to their front and hind legs that allows for short-distance gliding.

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Full Answer

Flying squirrels glide by propelling themselves from high branches and extending their legs to stretch out the membrane and glide through the air. They steer and turn by shifting their legs and flapping their tails. Tree snakes and hawks are common predators of the flying squirrel, but their gliding capabilities often allow them to avoid confrontations.

Flying squirrels feed on insects, berries, nuts, eggs, seeds, birds and insects. In the wild, flying squirrels have an average lifespan of five years and often build their nests in woodpecker holes and discarded birds' nests. They are social animals and are known to den with one another during cold and wet weather seasons.They are also known to share dens with bats and owls.

Flying squirrels mate during the winter and the typical gestation period is 40 days. Newborn flying squirrels are born blind but are capable of foraging alone by six weeks of age.

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