Where Do Flying Squirrels Live? How Do You Find Flying Squirrels In The Wild?

Squirrels turn to woodland forests or underground burrows as their outstanding places of survival. Moreover, they can confidently live and survive in the attics. This is a perfect description of where ground squirrels live. Hence, “Where Do Flying Squirrels Live?” This article will help!

Every squirrel species has a specific place of interest, which they consider to be home. For instance, as the name says, both the ground and tree squirrels live in the underground burrow and on trees, respectively.

With that point, now we remain with flying squirrels to think about. Where exactly do flying squirrels live? If you are curious about the natural home for flying squirrels, please read through the article to be enlightened on the same.

x
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Information About Flying Squirrels

Squirrels are on the list of common exotic animals that live with humans today, and flying squirrels, to be specific, have outstanding personalities and make good pets.

These types of squirrels can ascend as high as 150-500 feet or more, dashing from tree to tree to flee from ground predators. The name flying squirrel might suggest that these rodents do fly, but it’s not so.

Flying squirrels can’t fly, but they glide. They lack a true powered flight ability like the one from birds and bats. The flying squirrels’ ability to glide through the air between trees is made possible by a special membrane between their front and back limbs.

What Do Flying Squirrels Look Like?

Flying Squirrel
Flying Squirrel

Flying squirrels are noticeable through their distinctive physical appearance. They are primarily identified with a patagium, a membrane of fur between the front and back legs.

The patagia assists the flying squirrels in gliding from one tree to another. They open their patagia like a parachute to slow them in leaps between trees.

Moreover, the flying squirrels have a small body, and they are more or less the same as their cousin ground squirrels in the appearance of the face, ears, and tail. They have a rounded face, long, flattened, and fluffy tails, and prominent ears.

The long tail acts as a brake when flying squirrels are landing. These squirrels have large bulging eyes that allow them to forage efficiently at night.

The coat color varies among these squirrels, ranging from grey, black, brown, white, or tan, but the belly is typically white.

Flying Squirrel Classification

Flying squirrels are scientifically called Pteromyini. Ptero is a Greek term, and it means wing while myini means small.

The Pteromyini tribe has four flying squirrel species: the northern flying squirrels, southern flying squirrels, Japanese dwarf flying squirrels, and Humboldt’s flying squirrels. See the scientific classification of flying squirrels below.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Rodentia
  • Suborder: Sciuromorpha
  • Family: Sciuridae
  • Subfamily: Sciurinae
  • Tribe: Pteromyini

Where Do Flying Squirrels Live?

Where Do Flying Squirrels Live? In trees
Flying squirrels live in trees, specifically woodpecker holes

Squirrels primarily live in forests and woodlands, high up in the trees. Some species like to stay warm, and therefore, a couple of squirrels huddle together in a nest to keep warm during the cold season.

Habitat

We have seen that the ground is a no-go zone for most flying squirrels in the daytime. They stay high on trees to avoid the many predators on the ground. So, what is this home that flying squirrels love to dwell in? What is their natural habitat?

Flying squirrels’ most favorable places to inhabit are birds’ abandoned nests, woodpecker holes, snags, and nest boxes. Flying squirrels also can occupy a deserted nest that another squirrel formerly used.

Additionally, flying squirrels can also den in attics and barns. They find peoples’ homes to be an ideal habitat away from predators and other life-threatening elements. These squirrels leave their nesting places only at night to forage.

Range

In the category of flying squirrels, we have about 50 species of these rodents, and they are widely distributed in various places of the world.

They range across most parts of South America, North America, Southern and Northern Asia, Europe, Central America, and Eurasia.

The flying squirrels’ population varies depending on their areas of residence. Some locations such as China record an increasing population of flying squirrels, particularly the Phayre’s species.

On the other hand, species like the northern flying squirrels are endangered in some places, e.g., in Pennsylvania due to food deficit and habitat loss.

Note that flying squirrels can adapt to several types of home ranges. They come from different species and survive in different environments

What Do Flying Squirrels Eat?

A flying squirrel munching nuts
A flying squirrel munching nuts

All squirrel species are independent rodents, except the babies, and therefore go out to forage from many places.

The flying squirrels can eat many types of food, but their favorites are nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.

Their other food choices are mushrooms, insects, spiders, mice, eggs, snails, berries, carrions, etc. It’s squirrels’ nature to eat the foods that are within their reach. They all gather foods to store and utilize in the cold winter months.

The broad range of food options for flying squirrels, including plant and animal matter, makes them omnivores. Squirrels eat animal matter as a supplement of nuts, veggies, and fruits.

“Flight” Mechanism of Flying Squirrels

Despite their name, we have seen that flying squirrels do not actually fly. They cannot show the actual powered flight as a bat or bird can, thus giving them the name “gliding squirrels.”

Their special membrane that runs from their front to back legs, also called patagia, lets them glide through the air between trees. So then, a flying squirrel doesn’t necessarily have to descend a tree to climb to another.

To travel to another tree, these squirrels go to a high branch and then spread out to expose their gliding membrane, allowing them to glide between tree branches.

They move their hands and legs in opposite directions to control the movement. Flying squirrels can jump an average distance of 65-150 feet within a single glide, but some can go as far as 300 feet.

Their long and bushy tail helps significantly stabilize the flight and acts as a break in the landing process.

Flying squirrel in the wild [source: Nat Geo Wild]

Are Flying Squirrels Harmful to People and Your Garden?

If you look at a flying squirrel, you probably might think they’re harmful because of their sharp teeth, but they’re not. These squirrels are incredibly social and can get along well with people.

Interestingly, these squirrels aren’t known to carry diseases transmittable to people. They won’t pose you with health problems.

You might also have the interest to know if flying squirrels are harmful to your garden. So many pests enter our gardens and cause destruction. Maybe you don’t know that squirrels are pests to our gardens also?

The flying squirrels can invade a garden and ruin your cropping beyond explanation. They are very messy when hungry and especially when in large numbers.

Fun Facts about Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels are unique rodents and are associated with myriads of exciting things that make them famous.

Fun fact #1: Turns Around 180-Degrees Turn

Flying squirrels convey a 180-degrees turn in mid-air, and this characteristic allows them to avoid flying predators like owls and hawks.

Fun fact#2: Excellent Gliding Ability

The patagia in flying squirrels help produce lift, making these creatures glide through the air between trees.

Humans, especially skydivers and base jumpers, replicate this behavior in their activities. They use well-designed and unique suits that can mimic the gliding ability of the gliding squirrels.

The suit is effective in slowing down their landing and allows them to move through the air.

The patagia of a flying squirrel
The patagia of a flying squirrel [source: Britannica]

Fun fact#3: Large Bulging Eyes

The large beautiful, bulging eyes of flying squirrels have an outstanding role in helping them see clearly at night. The eyes collect dense light, thus increasing the visibility of the squirrel in darkness.

Fun fact#4: Long Whiskers

Flying squirrels have long whiskers that help them avoid obstacles or run into objects when they are busy hunting at night. It encourages them to have smooth hunting with no interruptions or injuries.

Fun fact#5: Hiding from Predators

These squirrels seldom contact a predator because they spend much time resting and hiding from their enemies on trees.

If they encounter a predator on the ground, flying squirrels aren’t skilled in running like others and therefore prefer to hide.

Fun fact#6: There are Over 30 species of Flying Squirrels

The tribe Pteromyini has over 50 plus species of flying squirrels, but only four are common.

You have heard of the northern flying squirrels, Humboldt’s flying squirrels, southern flying squirrels, and Japanese dwarf flying squirrels.

Humboldt's species of flying squirrels
Humboldt’s species of flying squirrels

FAQs

Do flying squirrels really fly?

Just because they are called flying squirrels, that doesn’t mean that these rodents can fly. They lack wings but have a special membrane that spreads out and helps them to glide through the air.

How do I find flying squirrels?

These squirrels don’t come out during the day, and that’s why many people don’t see them. They are active for only a few hours at night. You can attract them to your place by providing their favorite nuts, e.g., sunflower seeds and peanut butter.

Are flying squirrels aggressive?

Some people take flying squirrels to be aggressive after seeing their sharp teeth. However, these are the most social and friendly rodents you can find. They can only bite if they are cornered.

What time do flying squirrels come out?

They come out of the nest an hour after and before sunset. And are out for not more than two hours.

Wrapping Up

Flying squirrels reside in deciduous and coniferous forests very high in the trees. They occupy the abandoned den of other squirrels or birds, woodpecker holes, and nest boxes.

We seldom encounter a flying squirrel because they are mainly inside the nest. These squirrels have very many predators when on the ground; that’s why it’s almost impossible to see them.

They have a furry membrane crossing between their arms and legs, and it stretches out to simulate the appearance of an open parachute to assist in gliding. These rodents can turn 180-degrees in the air to evade flying predators.