Living the Wild Life | Flying Squirrels, Acrobats of the Night Sky – by Doreen S Damm

Flying Squirrels

                  Acrobats of the Night Sky

by Doreen S Damm

With the sun setting early in the evening, we find ourselves doing more outdoor activies in the dark. While several animal spieces are equipped with excellent night vision, we tend to be foreigners in this dark landscape.

My husband was grilling burgers by the glow of the backyard flood light when something moved on a bird feeder. We are use to the raccoons and opossums visiting the feeders at night, but this was much smaller. “Honey, I think I saw a fruit rat” he said. Then he suggessted I get the spot light to confirm his sighting. Much to our amazement, it was a flying squirrel.

The following nights we made it a point to venture outside into the dark to watch the flying squirrels. We even went so far as to purchase spot lights for our Malibu light set and aim them up into the trees. We would fill the feeders with ground nuts, seeds and dried berries. Their high-pitched chirps alerted us to their arrival and it was not long before the acrobatic show started. The flying squirrels would swoop in, the spot lights illuminating their creamy white bellies as they glided from tree to tree. We are not sure how many call our backyard woods home but we counted five at one time.

The Southern Flying Squirrel is found in wooded areas statewide except the Florida Keys. They are nocturnal and forage mainly in trees for acorns, nuts, insects, berries, fruit, seeds, and buds.

They are brown to gray with a white underside, large eyes, and a broad short tail. With a body measuring 8 to 10 inches long, they have a loose fold of skin along each side from wrist to ankle creating a wing-like surface allowing them to glide from tree to tree. The average glide is 30 to 50 feet.

For more information on the Southern Flying Squirrel visit:

https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Mammals/Flying-Squirrels.aspx

 

Doreen S. Damm

Nature Photographer &

Wildlife Gardener

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