Glaucomys sabrinus/volans spp.
Contrary to their common name, these small tree squirrels actually glide instead of fly. They stretch out their legs, spreading the fold of skin between the front and hind legs, to form a kind of parachute that lets them glide from branch to branch.
Northern and southern flying squirrels are the smallest of the tree squirrels and the only nocturnal species. They are also known to be the most carnivorous of the group, feeding primarily on nuts and seeds, but also on insects and bird eggs.
These squirrels feed on nuts, acorns seeds, berries, some insects and bird eggs. In preparation for the colder months, some of the food is stored in the nest chamber, while the rest is hoarded in tree crotches.
Northern and southern flying squirrels inhabit woodlots and forests of dense or mixed conifer and deciduous trees. These species favor dead trees with numerous woodpecker holes for nesting, especially in stumps and those near the top. They will also use the attics of buildings as shelter and den in larger groups during the winter months.
Both Northern and Southern flying squirrels become pests only when they take up residence in an attic where they can cause a noticeable odor and damage with their urine. The species is of very minor medical concern.
- Color: Depending on the species, flying squirrels range in color from white to gray to brown with a pale belly
- Legs: 4
- Shape: Flying squirrels have short, thick fur and a bushy tail.
- Size: Flying squirrels range in size depending on the species, but usually the head and body is about 5 ½” to 6 3/8” (14 cm – 16.2 cm) and tail is 3 ½” to 4 ½ ” (8.9 cm - 11.4 cm)
- Antennae: No
- Region: Northern flying squirrels are found in eastern Alaska; throughout northern United States including California, Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming; and in eastern United States including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New England and New York. Southern flying squirrels are found throughout the eastern Unites States and eastern Canada, west to Alaska, and southward through California.
If you find feces, hear sounds of scurrying in the walls or observe other signs of an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.