Southern Flying Squirrel

Glaucomys volans

Our Ambassador
Our Southern Flying Squirrel was born December 28, 2005 in Texas at a local breeder.  He arrived at CA&NC via Delta in February 2006.  He is a voracious eater and extremely fast. He lives in the Hidden Creatures of the Forest exhibit in the trunk of a tree.  He eats a mixture of fruit, vegetables and nuts 6 days per week.

Habitat
They live in deciduous forests, almost completely in trees and use woodpecker holes or abandoned gray squirrel nests as dens.  Their individual territories range from 0.5 to 4 acres.

Size
7.75 - 10 inches from head to tail
3 - 4 ounces

Appearance
Flying squirrels have large, beady, black eyes and have excellent night vision.  Their fur is short, grayish in color and very soft.  They have a white underside with body and tail flattened.  They have a loose, furred flap from front to hind legs used for gliding called a patagium.

Eating Habits
Nuts, acorns, seeds, berries, fungi, lichens, birds and their nestlings, eggs, insects and dead animals.  They often gnaw on bones and antlers as a source of calcium and to keep their teeth chiseled; otherwise their teeth would continue to grow like all rodent teeth.

Reproduction
They mate in early spring.  Female gives birth to 2 -7 young after approximately 41 days of gestation. Females may also have a second litter in August or Septemberótypically females that didnít breed in the spring.

Life Span
4 - 5 years in the wild; Up to 13 years in captivity

Interesting Facts

  • The Southern Flying Squirrel is the most carnivorous of all tree squirrels.

  • Despite their name, flying squirrels do not fly, but glide from tree to tree, or tree to ground.  Their patagium acts like a glider wing.  They can glide up to 270 feet, but glides of 20 - 30 feet are more common.  Thick paws cushion their landing.

  • They are extremely nocturnal, and therefore rarely seen

  • Flying squirrels gather food in the fall and cache it for the less active winter months.  Flyers do not actually hibernate, but can slow down their systems in the winter. They have been known to nest with up to 50 others in one den to conserve energy and benefit from radiant heat!

Resources


400 Garden Road, Chattanooga, TN 37419 | (423) 821-1160 | map | directions