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Northern flying Squirrel

Glaucomys sabrinus

Northern flying Squirrel

Appearance

These amazing flying mammals have ‘wings’ (furred skin) that join between their forearms and hindlegs. Their fur is silvery grey and toasted brown with a bright white belly and they have large black eyes to see at night. Flying squirrels have long tails for balance when swooping from tree branch to tree branch.

Range & Habitat

The northern flying squirrel is found throughout Canada, from the Yukon to the eastern provinces as well as regions in northern states. They like to live in old conifer forest which have dead standing trees called ‘snags’ that can house their dens for raising their young.

Diet & Behaviour

Like most squirrels, these like to munch on nuts and seeds found in the forest, but these squirrels will also snack on mosses, fungi, and lichens which make up a large portion of their diet. Their ‘flying’ name is misleading because they do not actually fly; rather, they glide from tree to tree traveling up to 73 metres in distance per glide. They use their tail to direct their flight and to stop at the desired location.

Lifecycle & Threats

Females often have two to five young each year often mating just before the snowmelt in early spring. The young are born from May till June and after eight months of rearing they look just like their parents. Obvious threats are clear cutting and logging operations in coniferous forests and degradation of habitat through urban development. Predators include: coyotes, foxes, owls, and hawks.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu

Photo: Master Larry, US Fish and Wildlife Services