Southern Flying Squirrel


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Common Name
Southern Flying Squirrel
Category
Mammals
ScientificName
Glaucomys volans
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Rodentia
Family
Sciuridae
Genus
Glaucomys
Species
volans
SubSpecies

 

Description
Very soft olive to gray fur on top of head, back and tail; chin and under belly fur is white; bottom of tail fur has a peachish cast; flap of skin, or patagium, connects hind legs and front legs; large dark eyes; bushy tail
Size
Head and body length: 5 – 5.5 in. (12.7 – 14 cm) long; tail length: 4.5 – 5 in. (11.4 – 12.7 cm) long 
Ecological Role
  • They can be secondary cavity nesters. This means they utilize cavities that were created by other animals for their own nests. Thrushes and woodpeckers are two bird species that have been evicted from their cavities by flying squirrels.
  • Flying squirrels fall prey to owls, hawks, raccoons, bobcats, snakes and foxes.
Fun Facts
  • The southern flying squirrel's name is a combination of Latin and Greek words that translate to flying gray mouse. Glauco is Greek for gray and mys is Greek for mouse. Volans is Latin for flying.
  • The southern flying squirrel does not actually fly; it jumps from treetops and glides to the base of other trees. When it jumps, it stretches out its patagium and uses its tail as a guide to direct it where it needs to go. The flying squirrel can glide as far as 50 to 100 feet. It will then climb up to the top and repeat the process as it forages during the night. The southern flying squirrel is rarely seen because of its nocturnal behavior. Their large eyes enable them to see well at night. They are social animals and often forage together. Flying squirrels are triggered to cache, or store, food in their cavities as winter approaches and the days become shorter.
Food
Insects, bird eggs, acorns, leaf buds, seeds, hickory nuts, mushrooms, fruit, and young birds
Cover
 
Nest
Built in fork of tree limbs and lined with grass, bark, lichens, moss, feathers, and other plant materials; are opportunistic nesters and may build in a clump of leaves and sticks; will also use hollow logs, bird boxes, or attics
Breeding
Occurs twice a year: early spring and late summer; young born in 40 days
Eggs
 
Habitat
Arboreal; woodlots and mixed deciduous forests
Kentucky Distribution
Statewide
Life Cycle
 
Life Span
 
Life Stage
 
Reproduction
 
Seasonal Changes
During the winter they are gregarious, living in close knit groups, with as many as 10 or more flying squirrels in a den.
Spawning
 
Status
Common
Uses
 
Voice
High pitch squeak
Young
Average litter of 4 young; born hairless with eyes and ears closed; weaned in 1.5 – 2 months and begin gliding and foraging with the mother; can live to be 12 – 13 years old in captivity; do not live as long in the wild due to predation
What We Can Do
If an area needs to be logged, have the loggers leave some large, standing, dead trees as well as several large, mature trees for seed production, thus providing trees for both nesting and foraging.
Host
 
Diagnosis and Control
 
Interesting Facts
 
Contributed By
 
Website
http://www.digimorph.org/specimens/Glaucomys_volans/