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Flying Squirrels – Sweet Animals Or Meat Eating Predators?

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Are flying squirrels real? They most definitely are. You’ve probably got a few questions about these funny little creatures. Are they squirrels who grew wings? Or are they just rodents that can jump really far? Well, wonder no more, as we’ve got all the flying squirrel facts you need, including flying squirrel capabilities, nutrition, sleeping patterns, predators, and more. Read on to find out if flying squirrels need your help, and how you can help this beautiful creature thrive for hundreds of years to come.

Many believe that flying squirrels evolved from normal squirrels into winged creatures, but this is not the case. The flying squirrel is a rodent with close ties to woodland and grassland squirrels, but with a very telling difference.

How Are Flying Squirrels Different From Other Squirrels?

Flying squirrels have a stretchy membrane connecting between their front and back legs.  This membrane is covered with fur and spreads taut to give flying squirrels the ability to glide quite an impressive distance. Not quite wings, but definitely a great feature for little creatures that might need to get away in a hurry. When the squirrel stretches its arms and legs out, it can jump from one surface and glide in the air to another landing surface. Usually flying squirrels jump from tree to tree, as it provides a realistic length for them to glide, and provides a safe space for them to land. The longest recorded flight of a flying squirrel was said to be 300 feet, but that is not a normal distance.

Syberian flying squirrel

The facial features of a flying squirrel are also easily distinguished from other squirrel species. They have large, bulbous eyes that may be spotted in the reflection of light during nighttime hours. Flying squirrels also have stubby, flat tails, unlike the fluffy alternatives usually found on other woodland species of squirrel.

Are There Different Types of Flying Squirrels?

Yes, there are a variety of flying squirrels subspecies spread in different climates and communities across the globe. The most common flying squirrel habitat is a wooded area, and they are found in forests across the world.

There are over 50 known species of flying squirrels.

Different species exhibit a variety of weight ranges, grow different colors of fur, and feature slightly varied facial features. The best-known flying squirrels are the North American and South American flying squirrels, which reside in Canada and the United States.

What Do Flying Squirrels Eat?

Flying squirrels are omnivorous, meaning they are creatures that find nutrients from both vegetation and other animals.  In terms of vegetation, flying squirrels love nuts, fruits, and berries. They are opportunistic eaters, which means that if they are hungry, they will eat whatever edible nutrition source they come across. Flying squirrels will eat birds’ eggs and insects to keep up their nutrition.

White squirrel

Are Flying Squirrels Nocturnal?

Flying squirrels are nocturnal, meaning they are a species of squirrel that do most of their foraging and activity in the nighttime hours.

How Long do Flying Squirrels Live?

The lifespan of flying squirrels depends on whether they live in the wild or are kept as pets in captivity. Those in the wild usually have a life expectancy of five to eight years, while those kept in good health as pets can be expected to live up until the age of 11.

Should I Get A Flying Squirrel As A Pet?

If you would like a flying squirrel pet, there are many things you need to consider before hopping on Craigslist to look for a flying squirrel for sale. Do flying squirrels make good pets? Many people express an interest in owning flying squirrels, and the allure is understandable. With their cute faces and unique capabilities, it’s no wonder that people often inquire whether they can keep a flying squirrel in captivity. There are varied responses to this query. Some exotic animal retailers claim that these squirrels can make excellent pets, citing their small size and the potential bond they can create with their human owners. Others say that the flying squirrel is a wild animal and should be kept as such. If you do decide to get a flying squirrel as a pet, you must have adequate room for them to move around, and keep them active while forming a strong bond with them from a young age.

However, in many states, owning a flying squirrel as a pet is considered illegal. If you are looking to purchase a flying squirrel, make sure you check with your local and state jurisdiction to ensure you are not breaking any laws. Sometimes they require a permit, whereas in other states you can purchase a flying squirrel at any time.

The flying squirrel

If you reside in a state where you are allowed to have a flying squirrel, you probably have some more questions. How much do flying squirrels cost? A pretty penny that’s for sure. They are not a cheap animal to purchase, and their upkeep also can become very expensive. As we discussed, flying squirrels eat a variety of foods, meaning you would need to purchase fresh produce and various other products designed to keep them healthy. They also have specific habitat requirements, and many exotic animals retailers will require a list of necessities you must purchase in order to acquire the animal.

Are Flying Squirrels Endangered?

Because flying squirrels are relatively small animals, they must often guard themselves against a large assortment of predators. These predators vary depending on the location. From domestic house cats that pounce to wild animals like mountain lions, flying squirrels must constantly be on guard from their larger predators who would seek to make a meal out of them.

With a large amount of predators threatening their livelihood, you might be wondering are flying squirrels endangered? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding yes. Predators combined with the ever-looming threat of deforestation have had terrible consequences on the numbers of different subspecies of flying squirrels. Flying squirrels have popped on and off the endangered species list, but as of now they are once again considered an endangered species.

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